Covington History

Some help for you to trace your family tree



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How it all began
Covington Database
Other Derivatives

Name Pronunciation
Family Trees
US Lineage

Where are we from?
Tracing your tree
Photo File

Odds & Sods
Coat of Arms

Covington Places
A Better Place To Be
Tell me all about you


Tips for Researching Your Ancestors

Talk to everyone in your family about what they know about the ancestors, keeping in mind that memories can fade and that some of their information is inaccurate or embellished. (Great Great Grandma was a full-on Romany Gypsy, or, as is often found in U.S, genealogy, “Our ancestors were related to UK Royalty & came over with the Pilgrim Fathers” are two examples of information that is said over & over that is usually not true.) Write down what you've found out.

Buy, create or download a genealogy program to organize your information. If you can afford to join one or more of the commercial genealogy websites, such as, or Findmypast, they will provide you with your own “area” to hold your data & share with other members.  This way all of your information is organized and can be emailed to someone easily.

Explore "Resources" in the local libraries. In these places you will also find many links to great sites for beginners.

Use all types of spellings when you look for records. Many times the spelling changed (Coventon to Covington or Covernton) or the person writing down the information had trouble deciphering the script. The "s" looks like "f" in some old script, so Smith could look like Fith to a beginning transcriber. Don’t forget that literacy levels before the 20th century were generally poor, so many local birth, death & marriage records were not always spelt by the reporter & left to someone else to spell it how he/she sought fit.

Use any of the various search engines available on the web. However, be aware that as society has become more protective of personal data, many previously available documents are now unavailable to view. Bring out the “Investigator” within yourself!

Post a query on the query board. There are a number of different query boards on genealogical websites.

Check census records in the county and in surrounding counties, where your ancestors were raised. The great thing about these records is that whole families are listed together. Over the years, more info was held.

Check the Cemetery records. There are quite a few on online and there are links to other's pages that have records.

Check the funeral home listings. Quite often, people did not have money to buy a tombstone, but their remains were handled by an undertaker.

Check the birth, death and marriage records. Those may list parents’ names, etc. Get copies of these records by ordering them from the appropriate source, but we careful as it can prove expensive if you buy the wrong John Smith’s certificate !.

Check the court records index. If you find something of interest, try to order the record from the County Clerk. Also know that they are short-staffed and may not be able to fill your request. You may have to make a trip to the area or hire a researcher to get the information for you.

Check the old newspapers, many are now available online, or a visit to the paper’s HQ may be necessary.

Join your local Genealogical Society. They're a great source of information and can help with the "How do I ... "

And finally … don't take every piece of information someone sends you as gospel! Ask for sources! Verify information! Have an open mind! YOU could be mistaken!



In the past The Family Records Centre in London was a major source of material. However, this facility is no longer open to the public with all Indexes, etc hidden away in the National Archives. Birth, Death & Marriage Certificates can be obtained online at  

A birth certificate will give you: place & date of birth, sex, full names, parent's names, including mother's maiden name and father's occupation.

A marriage certificate shows: place & date of marriage, names, ages, marital status, occupations and addresses of bride and groom, names and addresses of both fathers and names of witnesses.

A death certificate gives: place, date, cause of death, full name, sex, age at death, occupation of deceased and name of informant.

All certificates cost £9.25 each and are delivered by post (max 14 days). For next day guaranteed delivery cost is £23.40 (2018 prices)

The Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London, EC1 is well worth checking out, particularly the Great Card Index and Boyd's Marriage Index. A full day searching costs £18 (2018) for non-members, although you can visit for 2 hours (£5) or 4 hours £10) and you will need to provide one of the standard forms of personal ID. It will help if you are well prepared, having already got a good knowledge of your family tree. Annual membership is £80 for full membership with Associate membership costing £56. See website for opening hours & further details of the info they hold at

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints main Family History Centre is now based at The National Archives at Kew Gardens in Richmond, Surrey. Amongst many other fascinating documents provides access to the International Genealogical Index. Well worth a visit and no need to become a Mormon ! Their website can be accessed at

The UK National Archives can provide you with valuable information on a wide range of subjects


In recent years access to DNA information has provided a wider opportunity to track down lost family members. An excellent U.S. site giving all the latest links & advice/data available can be found at


 Modern habits for naming children often focus on what sounds good to the new parents, and what sounds good is heavily influenced by popular culture. For this reason, there is a trendy flood of Jason, Justin, or Jared and a flood of Zach and Megan - names almost unheard of 20 years ago.

In older Great Britain, other norms governed the naming of children. For example, family researchers might run across Biblical names, such as Zacharias or Benjamin, or names for religious principles, like Faith, Hope, and Charity.  Such names were not common in England and may suggest that the family was particularly committed to religion and may have been non-conformist dissenters (belonged to a church other than the state Church of England, or Anglican). This can be a significant hint to the family researcher.

The most common convention, however, was for the parents to choose names that honored people. Sometimes the people so honored were powerful people, such as a local, wealthy landowner. Sometimes the names honored royalty. So there were many Henrys named after King Henry and many Georges named after King George. The most common persons to honor, however, were the gender appropriate grandparents and parents. This can be another hint to differentiate between two sets of same-name parents having children in the same town or village or to the likelihood of a “missing” child in a family. It also introduces the concept of “replacement” children.

Often considered repugnant to modern ears, a child’s untimely death meant the end of the honor bestowed upon someone. Since many children died in the 17th and 18th centuries, parents had no problem with re-using the name of a dead child for a subsequent birth. A family might, therefore, have several John or Jane children. Occasionally, the same name was given to more than one living child, but this was rare. The re-use of a name almost always meant that the first child with that name had died.

There was even a convention in the order in which the ancestors were honored – probably to avoid insulting anyone. Although it was far from universally used, the usual British naming convention was as follows:

• The first son was named after the paternal grandfather
• The second son was named after the maternal grandfather
• The third son was named after the father
• The fourth son was named after the oldest paternal uncle
• The fifth was named after the second oldest paternal uncle or the oldest maternal uncle

• The first daughter was named after the maternal grandmother
• The second daughter was named after the paternal grandmother
• The third daughter was named after the mother
• The fourth daughter was named after the oldest maternal aunt
• The fifth was named after the second oldest maternal aunt or the oldest paternal aunt

If there was duplication (for example, the paternal grandfather and the father had the same name), then the family moved to the next position on the list.

·         Given Names & Nicknames – link to USGenWeb Project info

·         Cyndi's List of Links to Name Sites  



Census Records are definitely going to a part of your research. This can be done in a lot of different ways. Here is a list of good online Census Resources.

England & Wales.

Census Information from GENUKI

United States

·         The USGW Census Project – A wonderful resource for US genealogy data


·         Cyndi's List of Census Sites  – Valuable source of links to other great websites



US immigration and Passenger Arrival Records – link to US National Archives

There can be a lot of information available to you if you can find the immigration papers of your ancestor. The US National Archives are only available via a visit to Washington DC, but most of the pay to join genealogy sites offer online access


Maps can be a valuable genealogical tool. Some geographical research will probably become necessary in your search as early county lines were in flux, towns and townships changed names and other geographical changes occurred. You might need to know what was located near to a certain river and other things like that.


Calendar Information and Date Formats – link to USGenWeb Project info

Here you will find a lot of information on old calendars, date changes, double dating, etc.


Here are links to other pages that will help you either get started or get over the brick wall. I have also provided links to specialty sites like document preservation, old photograph preservation, bible preservation, passenger & ships records, special ethnic sites and much, much more. Good luck and happy researching!

· Genealogy - Resources, Links, How-tos, Articles, Chat, Forums, and More

·         Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - Links to every topic you can think of.

·         Family Search Internet Genealogy Service - This is the online version of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Center.

·         Genealogy Exchange & Surname Registry - Lots of great info and there is even a Kid's Corner!

·         Genealogy Gateway - A great deal of good info and links to many, many other sites.

·         Treasure Maps - The How-to Genealogy WWW Site



After you have compiled your family tree, you may look at the sheets of paper in front of you and ask the following question about each individual on your chart; "Who was he, or she? What were they really like? How did they live?" "What sort of an environment did they live in?"

Where known, I have included a brief pen-picture about some individuals but this only tells you a very small amount about the person. It tells you little about his lifestyle, his surroundings, or the state of the country at the time of his life. Nowadays we take so much for granted that our ancestors couldn't possibly enjoy. Take out electricity, motor cars, running hot & cold water, television, overseas holidays, city centre stores and supermarkets from our current lifestyle and our existence would seem a little bland. However, if one believes the saying "You don't miss what you've never had", we can be happy that our ancestors were not too disillusioned with their lot.

A particularly sad element of their lifestyle was the enormity of the number of child deaths which occurred. It seems quite commonplace, for a couple to lose 3, 4 or 5 children before they were 1 year old. It is difficult, nowadays, to relate to this situation, as very few birth or early childhood mortalities occur. Today, when they do happen, they are usually classified as still-births or blamed on cot death, very occasionally some serious physical ailment, such as heart, lung or kidney malfunction is responsible. However, in years gone by, many now insignificant illnesses such as Measles and Whooping Cough resulted in infant death. Many simply didn't make it through the trauma of actual childbirth, where few, but the offspring of the very rich, would have been delivered by a qualified physician.

According to the 1851 census, out of 1000 live births, 154 died before reaching 1. In 1986 it was 9.6 deaths per 1000. Those that did survive circa 1841, lived to an average age of 41. Today the average age at death is nearer 75.   

An example of how we often forget how things used to be struck me when I was researching my Great Grandfather's life. I had found that he had been a driver in the Royal Artillery. Not a bad job, I thought, chauffeuring the Colonel around, perhaps, or maybe even driving the ammunitions truck. But no, because in 1880 there were very few limousines or Bedford trucks, so Driver Covington was actually in charge of a team of horses pulling a gun carriage. Many of his family were agricultural labourers or straw plait workers, both of which were working in a very labour intensified industry, no tractors or combine harvesters in those days. No wonder they died so young!

Often a good place to start when trying to get a wider picture of your Covington is the place where he or she lived. Whilst the majority of buildings over 200 years old have long since disappeared, you will usually be able to visit the church where your ancestor was baptized, married or buried. A visit to the nearest library can help with useful background information, sometimes old street maps and photographs add to your view of what life was like.

Don't be only satisfied with the local environment, it is interesting to find out What taxes were payable? Who was King or Queen? (Would your ancestor have actually even seen a picture of the Queen?). Who was Prime Minister? Were we at war? What schooling was available? (many children started work at 9 years of age right up to the end of the 19th century). If nothing else, it makes History a much more interesting subject than I can remember it being during my schooling years An interesting approach is to list your own lifestyle, showing your job description, salary, pastimes, food, holidays, means of transport, communication, entertainments and clothing, and then trying to compare them with your chosen ancestor. It is only when you begin to see how your ancestors lived that you perhaps feel a little less dissatisfied with your own lot!

Go on, get stuck into a hobby that is constantly maturing with you.


How it all began
Covington Database
Other Derivatives

Name Pronunciation
Family Trees
US Lineage

Where are we from?
Tracing your tree
Photo File

Odds & Sods
Coat of Arms

Covington Places
A Better Place To Be
Tell me all about you



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Created by Martin H Covington 2018. All Rights Reserved.