Everything that you ever wanted to

know about the Covington name


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The information for my work on the Covington History has been acquired from various sources and locations throughout the UK and abroad. Numerous libraries and proven genealogical institutions have been the source for much of the material. Indeed, many happy hours have been spent poring over Web pages, Microfilm, Microfiche, Army Records, Files, & Books, as well as walking, head bowed reading the inscriptions, in churchyards around the country.


The whole project started out, in Brighton, Sussex circa 1982, soon after the birth of my first child, as being simply a desire to find out if there were many other Covingtons listed in the U.K. phone directories. Some months after this initial interest, a job move meant a transfer to Exeter in Devon and I spent 4 months lodging, waiting for my house move to be completed. It was then that I first started to spend early evenings in the local library searching through the various genealogy books for more details of the Covington name.


Those early records were kept on scraps of paper, with no real clear idea of how much information I might find or, more importantly how I was going to collate the data. Again, my interest waned as I reached a dead-end for information in all of the local Devon libraries. Two more house moves in the next 4 years found our family in High Wycombe and it was from here that, whilst travelling around West London as a sales rep, I stumbled across the Public Records Office in Kew.


At least once a week I would spend my lunchtime searching through all sorts of material, from microfilm of World War 1 medal rolls to discharge papers from 19th century Army records. Quite by chance, I came across the 1892 Royal Artillery discharge papers of one Charles James Covington. Within these torn and mottled sheets, I spotted the christening details of Ernest Albert Covington at Bow Barracks in 1883, my grandfather. Until then neither myself, nor my father and his 3 brothers, even knew of my great grandfather's, and therefore, their grandfather's, name. Needless to say, this spectacular find was the spur to much more searching and, as they say, the rest is history.


Ernest Albert Covington   my grandfather

There is no doubt that the project was easier to attack living in the London area, as major libraries, the Census Rooms & the Public Record Offices are within easy access. It certainly helps, when one can spend full days at these locations without the need for expensive travel or overnight costs.


Initially all the information that I wanted was to ascertain my own family tree, however it wasn't too long before it became apparent that most, if not all, U.K. Covingtons are likely to be in some way distantly related. Whilst some family group off-shoots have appeared in more out of the way parts of Britain, I have been able to trace the largest colony of U.K. Covingtons, over the past 300 years, as living in the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridge & North Buckinghamshire areas, with many moving to London for work in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.


The College of Arms in London did some work for Arthur Edwin Covington, a distinguished Canadian radio-astronomer, and managed to trace his side of the Covington family to Turvey, North Buckinghamshire, back to the early 1600s. Although I have managed to obtain a lot of the details, through Arthur Kenneth Covington, the College of Arms, at that time, required some £240 to send me a full transcript, which was regrettably over my financial limit for the project. I have, however, been able to obtain some interpretations of The Covington Coat of Arms.


An interpretation of the Covington Coat of Arms


Within 6 months of serious part time searching, I had traced details on over 1000 Covingtons and printed my first works, "The Covington History", using an Amstrad 8256 Word Processor. About 30, fellow Covingtons, invested in the book, and their interest and kind words after reading the content, encouraged me to delve further. It was at this stage that I decided to create a Covington database, so as to be able to cross-reference all the different levels of information and, hopefully, link various Covingtons to their descendents. I traded in the Amstrad for a second-hand Olivetti M111, IBM compatible lap-top (more luggable than portable!!), and started to write the necessary programs. The results produced The Covington Database Book, which I had considered offering as a full manuscript to a publishing house, however the number of potentially interested Covington Families in the U.K. then stood at just over 200, so the cost of production and printing was prohibitive.


As I searched still further, at that stage still concentrating on UK Covingtons, it became apparent that there were a number of links to the U.S., as mid 18th & 19th century Covingtons emigrated to their shores, be it some by choice and others at His or Her Majesty’s request/demand following a criminal act. The same scenario was found in regard to Covingtons in Australia. I found that many U.S. counties, cities & towns were named Covington. Many of these were given the name after a local person. So, I started to widen the search and try to trace the family trees of non U.K. born Covingtons. This moved the size of the project into a much wider playing field and, as such, created interest from many more, potentially interested, Covingtons (as at 2014 there are said to be 37,575 of us living worldwide).


Now with the massive scope of the internet, I can make my work available to Covington’s throughout the world. The current web based offering is produced using MS Access, for the database and MS Word, for designing the web pages, hosted through Fasthosts. As a hobby, this project has provided me with a significantly improved knowledge of computing, language, geography and history. At times, it is a frustrating pastime, particularly when a dead end is reached, or not in genealogical terms!!, but one that is forever fascinating and never ending.


Please send e-mails to: covingtonhistory@mhcovington.plus.com

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