Covington History

Some practical advice on how to start tracing 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

It has only been during the past 14 years that I have turned my attention towards collating information on U.S. born Covingtons. All my early work concentrated on those born, married or died in the United Kingdom.

My living in England and restrictions of funds were the main reason for concentrating on the U.K. but since the expansion of the internet and access to genealogical sites on the Worldwide Web my horizons have expanded.

That said apart from kind contributions from numerous U.S. based Covingtons, most of the information from the U.S. has not been confirmed by my own direct research. For the U.K., I have personally logged details on every Covington recorded in the General Register Office files.

There is no simple road in genealogy, no idiot's guide unless you are happy enough to just follow the UK General Register Office records. You will need to use all the resources available, if you wish to finish your tree (personally I believe it is impossible to completely finish a tree). My project has just aimed at recording the lives of anybody named Covington. It is not true genealogy, in that I have not tried to follow all the branches of a tree, just the one's named Covington.

To most budding Covingtonists, I would recommend either a lengthy download of data from this site or applying to me for the whole lot on CD, to start you on your way. Your skills will then be tested to provide the branches away from the Covington line, or in some cases back to other parts of our line.

Once my database contacts have been exhausted, I suggest that you consider making contact with some of the following:

         Any major library has many genealogy books worth a read, particularly those which give the meanings of names.

         The Family Records Centre, 1 Myddelton Street, Islington, ECIR 1UW. is a major source of material. By referring to their many Indexes you can order one of a variety of certificates to help your study along. But beware it can prove to be expensive, particularly if you order the wrong John Smith birth certificate. A full birth, death or marriage certificate costs 7 each (Mar 2009). The building also houses the Census records.

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.

The GRO also keep Service Records, births, marriages and deaths for Army, Navy and Air Force as well as Consular, Overseas and Adoption Records. GRO website is at

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 (March 2009 price) for non-members 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 45 for UK members & 27 for Overseas members

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can be found at 64-68 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2PA. Their Family History Centre, amongst other fascinating documents provides access to the International Genealogical Index. Well worth a visit and no need to become a Mormon ! 


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!


Getting Started

How to start researching your family tree. You will find links to other "Getting Started" sites on this page. Also included on the Getting Started page are links to Genealogical Forms for keeping track of what you learn, The Most Common Mistakes Made in Genealogical Research and much more to help you begin the search!

Primary & Secondary Resources

Understand what the difference is between a Primary and a Secondary Resource can be hard. This page explains it all.

Calendar Information and Date Formats

Here you will find a lot of information on old calendars, date changes, double dating, more. There is a section on determining birthdates. We also have provided links to sites where you can look up dates to find out what important events occured on those days.

Finding Names

Finding maiden names can sometimes be a problem and family histories often use nicknames. The English had certain patterns that were used to name sons and daughters. Hopefully you can find some help in the links below.

         Seventeen Ways to Find a Maiden Name

         Given Names & Nicknames

         Naming Patterns in England, 1700-1875

         Czech (Bohemian and Moravian) Given Names/English Counterpart

         Dutch/Frisian Names with English Translations

         German Names

         Foreign Name Cross Reference - for Czechoslovakian, German, Hungarian, Polish or Slovakian equivalents

         Cyndi's List of Links to Name Sites


Census Records

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.

United States

         The USGW Census Project

         The USGenWeb Archive Census Project

         Surname to Soundex Converter

         Cyndi's List of U.S. Census Info



         Census Information from GENUKI - For England, Scotland & Wales.

         Cyndi's List of Census Related Sites Worldwide


Land Patent Records

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has a great web site, The Official Federal Land Patent Records Site . They provide live database access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States. Image access is provided to more than two million Federal land title records for Eastern Public Land States, issued between 1820 and 1908.

Immigration and Passenger Arrival Records

There can be a lot of information available to you if you can find the immigration papers of your ancestor. Here are some "how tos" and links to site with actual lists online.

Old Occupations Explained

A list of what those old occupation really were.

Care of old Documents

The care of old, fragile documents can be hard to figure out. This problem extends to Bibles, photographs, newspaper articles and books. Some links to professional restorers.

Photographic Preservation

Just a few of the many sites that do professional restoration of old photos.

         Just Black and White

         Cyndi's List of Photographs and Memories - not just links to preservation sites, but many other interesting things as well.


Geographical Information & Maps

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. This page also includes terms used in old land measurements.

How to Write and Use Queries

Queries can be a big help to you in your online research. Find out what they are, how to write them and how to make them more effective.

Computer Programs for Genealogy

If you really want to say with this hobby, there will probably come a point when you will want to purchase a computer program to make keeping track of all that paper a whole lot easier. Read up on the programs available.

Miscellaneous Information for Researchers

Here you will find: Information on English Common Law in 18th Century Virginia, Relationships of Cousins Explained, Definitions of Some Unusual Death Items and a Guide to Reading Old Handwriting (with some links).


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



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 March 2009. All Rights Reserved.