This unusual name can be either English or Irish. If English it is locational, and derives from the village of Coveney in the county of Cambridgeshire. The placename derives originates from an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Cofa" plus "eg", meaning island. Coveney village is in an area of former "Fenland", where there may have been an island on a lake or waterway. The surname is still found mainly in East Anglia though it is also established in Ireland. Here it may be of English origin, or more likely is a form of Mac Coveney. This small clan, mainly recorded in County Kilkenny where they held the barony of Crannagh, is claimed to descend from Mac Coibheanaigh, the son of a chief killed in battle. As surnames spread away from their original, they developed many variant forms, and particularly so in this case where it is now recorded as Coveney, Keveney, Kevany, and even Geaveney. Examples of the surname recording taken from church registers include John Coveney from the county of Kent, recorded in the register of Magdalen Hall, Oxford in 1586, and Elizabeth Coveney who married one Edward Crowe in London in 1624. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Coveney, which was dated 1548, in the "Register of the University of Oxford", during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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