Genealogy has become a hobby for me over the last 10 years. For me, it's like a puzzle, I love fitting the pieces together. But over the years, I've researched a lot that does not pertain to our family lines. Some for extended family, some for close friends, and some because I was trying to rule out lines to figure out where our line went exactly. I do not want these notes on my Heather's Genealogy Notes blog - because they are not our lines. But I do like to share all of my research, in case it benefits others. That is what this blog is for - research I have done that does not apply to our own family lines, but may be helpful for someone else.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Covenhoven Line


Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven
Neeltgen Jacobsdochter
Jannetje Monfort

Neeltje Roelofse Schenk

Antje Strycker

Sarah Wyckoff

Crecy Covenhoven
William Hepburn 1753-1821

Mary Hepburn 1780-1839
Robert McClure 1772-1829

Hepburn McClure 1809-1890
Martha Biles Anthony


From the Book: 

The Name VanCouwenhoven

The Dutch language yielded very slowly but surely to the English tongue, underwent several changes both in spelling and pronunciation. Our early court and church records show some of these changes. The "Van" was dropped and name spelled Couwenhoven or Kowenhoven. Then Cowenhoven, next Covenhoven or Covenoven. and finally Conover. 

This family have been in America nearly three centuries. As the original progenitor came here in 1630, another  generation, or 32 years from present date, will complete this period since the Conover tree was first planted in the new world. Very few families in he United States of Netherland blood can show such an ancient lineage, about which there can be no doubt. Neither can any family show greater fidelity in their obedience to the Scriptural injunction "to increase and multiply in the land." If all the male and female descendants ol Wolphert Garritson VanCouwenhoven now in the United States could be gathered together in one place it would be a mighty multitude.

Neither do I know of any of this name who has been convicted of any infamous crime. Their family history is remarkably free from all dishonorable stains. While none of them ave achieved fame as authors, ministers, presidents, generals, or millionaires, yet on the other hand they have generally occupied respectable positions, led useful lives, and been good citizens. That is, the Conovers are not found at either extreme of the social scale ut 
on the safe middle ground. During the stormy days of the Revolution I do not know of a single Conover, Smock, Schenck, or Vanderveer in Monmouth county who was a Tory. On the contrary, so far as I can learn, they were all sturdy, uncompromising patriots. Many of them, like Captain Jacob Covenhoven. Colonel Barnes Smock. Cap
tains John and William Schenck and Tunis Vanderveer, did yeoman service both in council and battle for their country. During the late war of the rebellion the records of our state show that over 50 Schencks and over 70 Conovers, served in the New Jersey regiments. I, therefore, can sincerely say that I do not know of any family of Dutch descent who have a better right  to celebrate the year 1930, the tricentennial of their residence in America (now only 32 years off) than .the Conovers and their kinsmen among the Smocks, Schencks and Vanderveers. They can then sing with gusto and 
truth the following verses and no one can question their right to do so, or the propriety of such a tricentennial jubilee. 

Ye sturdy Dutchmen, now arise, 
For singing of the ancient times. 
We're going for to go: 
When this fair land on every hand 
Was peopled by the Dutch, 
And all the rest however blest. 
They did not count for much. 
Of centennial celebrations. 
We've had some two or more; 
These upstarts of an hundred years. 
But one find in their score. 
And tho' they boast a mighty host, 
"Four Hundred," brave and fair: 
We quietly look in History's book 
And fail to find them there. 
I am a Van, of a Van, of a Van. of a Van. 
Of a Van of a way back line: 
On every rugged feature 
Ancestral glories shine. 
And all our band in kinship stand. 
With all that's old and fine. 
I'm a Van. of a Van. of a Van, of a Van, 
Of a Van of a way back line. 

I have sometimes heard the inquiry, what does "Covenhoven" mean in the Low Dutch language? 

This question I cannot answer, although many years ago. I heard a gentleman of this family give the following explanation: 

He said that in the early settlement of Long Island, a Hollander with a long jaw-breaking name, had taken up his residence near Gravesend. His nearest neighbors were English people, who had followed Lady Deborah Moody from Massachusetts Bay. They were unable to understand his Dutch talk any better than he understood their foreign speech. Neither were they able to pronounce his name. Near his house he had erected on four posts an old fashion common in Monmouth county fifty years ago. They had a level brick bottom, some three or four feet wide, and eight or ten in length. This was arched over with brick. Light dry fuel, like old fence rails, was placed in the oven and fired. When the wood was consumed and the oven thoroughly heated, the bread, pies or other things to be baked, were shoved in with a long handled iron shovel. The door was then closed until the articles were thoroughly done. This Hollander also owned a cow which 
had been brought over from his old sea-home, and was a highly prized animal in those early days. One cold winter's night, a pack of hungry wolves approached very close to his dwelling. Their fierce howling frightened the cow. so that she broke out of the shed, and ran wildly around the house. On the four posts she kicked dent was talked about by the English neighbors who, unable to pronounce his name, described him as the man whose 
cow kicked over, or went over the oven. This was soon abbreviated into "Cowand-oven," or "Cow-n-hoven." This is doubtless a fanciful explanation. Like those given by Washington Irving in his Knickerbocker History of New York, of the meaning or origin of Dutch surnames, based on the erroneous idea, that Dutch names have a meaning like 
English words of "idem sonans." 

 Although this old "VanCouvenhoven" name has been often changed, yet the genuine Conovers retain in a marked degree the physical and mental characteristics of the Batavian and Frisian race from which they spring. That is, where they have not intermarried too often with French, Irish, English or other foreign people. 

The real Couvenhoven, whose Dutch blood is unadulterated, is generally a fine looking specimen of the "genus homo." Robust and well proportioned in person, square shouldered and deep chested, with ruddy complexion, light blue eyes and sandy hair. Bluff in manner, sincere and frank in expression of his opinions, honest in his dealings and grim and tenacious in resolution. Trickery, deceit and show he detests, and would rather be underestimated than overestimated by other people. He wants the substantial things of this life and not the mere show or appearance of things. That is, he would choose anytime a square meal of pork and potatoes, rather than a fine or fashionable suit of broadcloth, with jewelry to match, on an empty stomach. Such are some of the traits of the genuine Couvenhoven. if a true descendant of the first Hollanders of this name. And there ought to be many genuine Conovers in Monmouth. The late Rev. Garret C. Schenek told the writer that there have been 150 marriages in Monmouth county since 1700 where both the bride and groom were of this name. The three brothers who settled here, must have been men of marked individuality, great vigor, and force of char- 
acter. For a century after their settlement, or in 1800. their respective descendants were spoken of as three separate or distinct branches or families. 

The late Samuel Conover, who was twice sheriff of Monmouth county, often remarked that there were three kinds of Conovers, and distinguished as the "Lop-eared" Conovers, the "Big-foot" Conovers and the "Wide-mouth" or The lop-eared variety were so called because of their protuberant ears, set at right angles with the head. They were  noted for their up-to-date farms, substantial building's and good strong fences. Their crops in the rear of their farms were as well cultivated and looked as good as those next to the public highway, for none of them liked 'Presbyterian" farming, as they called it. They liked to set a good table with full and plenty on it, and the "wayfaring man." if half decent in looks, who happened to come along at meal time, was never denied a seat at their table. 

The "Big-foot" Conovers. although sadly lacking in the standard of beauty which prevails in the Celestial empire, are nevertheless a fine looking people. Some of the most andsome men and most beautiful women ever raised in Monmouth county can be found among the different generations of the bigfoot variety. They too liked good big farms, solid and comfortable buildings for man and beast, with well filled barns, well stocked cellars and smoke houses, with true friends and neighbors to gather around the blazing fire, and partake of the good cheer of their homes. 

The "Wide-mouth" or "Weasel" rollovers, were generally tall and wiry men. Polished and polite in manners, smooth and pleasant in speech, and very well groomed in appearance and dress. Fond of fast horses and elegant carriages, of fashionable clothing  and expensive jewelry. This variety of the Conovers were also very successful in horse trading, in running for office and also occasionally in "bucking the tiger" when led into it by bad company. In fact they were at home in any business which required diplomacy or extra finesse. 

How this description given by Sheriff Sam Conover tallies with the real facts the reader can judge for himself. I merely repeat the current gossip without vouching for its accuracy. Although 1 can safely say that so far as successful horse trading and office getting goes, nobody has ever beat the Couvenhovens in Monmouth county, unless it 
is the Hendricksons. Schencks. Smocks 


Front Cover

From Jim Crownover
Until somone shows me different, I believe that all Crownovers have a common progenitor in Wolfert Van Kouwenoven. Wolfert Gerritse came to this land with the Dutch West India Company and settled what is now Long Island, NY. He was from a farming area known as Kouwenhoven in the Netherlands, which was near Amersfoort.

When the British took New York by force, Wolfert relocated to what is now New Jersey. When the British imposed a census requiring a surname, Wolfert adopted the Von Kouwenhoven meaning "from Kouwenhoven." He also used Van Amersfoort on occasion.

Covenhoven came into usage by many of his descendants including Jan Covenhoven, who was the ancestor of the great majority of Crownovers. Many more Covenhovens became Conovers and remained in the NJ/NY area. Jan relocated to VA, where he died circa 1780.


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