This surname is of Baltic-Russian origins, and derives from the ancient descriptive word "kovat", meaning to forge, a forgemaster or white-smith, one who worked in molten iron. There are many European forms of the name including the Baltic-Polish Kovan or Kowal, the German Haver, and the original base (Russian) Kuznet and its more usual patronymic Kuznetsov - the son of the forge master. The Coat of Arms is a blue field charged with a crescent in base and three knights spurs, all gold - the charges indicating both Loyalty and Royal Service (blue), and honourable victory over the turks or infidels. The date of the grant is not known but is probably 15th Century. The American spelling form of many European surnames is as a result of the Immigration Service being overwhelmed by refugees in the 19th Century, and adopting a policy of entering surnames on a "sounds like" basis. This policy ensured a steady supply of "new" surnames, to the point where America has a large number of names, whose spelling form is not recorded elsewhere in the world. Curiously in our research we came across the recording of William Van Koughnet at Turin, Lewis, New York, on July 19th 1858, we could not find a "link" with Kovnot, but it is a (faint) possibility. Russian recordings are very poor, but amongst the few proven examples is Nicolaj Ivanovitj Kuznetsov, born in St. Peterarad, on December 17th 1864. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mikhail Kowalek, which was dated circa 1450, Count of Drombrowski, Poland, during the reign of Czar Ivan 1, known as John 111 of Russia, 1462 - 1505. 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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