Hulda Jane Coventry

Hulda Jane Coventry Owen MapHulda Coventry was born ~1830, which would make her the 6th child of Robert and Rachel Coventry, the 2nd daughter.

Here is her timeline and the records I’ve found her in:

What ties her to this family?

  • I first found her because she was living with my ancestor, her brother William Coventry in the 1900 census. Or, more accurately, he was living with her, and his relationship to her is shown as her brother. Since her married name is given, I was able to trace her back through the censuses (though she was often listed as Jane Owen rather than Hulda Owen).
  • Another item that ties her to this family is that Loren Swart is living with her during 1860, and two other Swart children are living with Chauncey and Calvin from 1850-1860.)
  • This one is a little bit of a stretch, but their son William C. was shown in a couple censuses as being born in Connecticut in around 1855. (Those that don’t show him being born there seem less accurate overall.) This is the same general time frame that Calvin lived in Connecticut as well, so perhaps they lived in the same area?

Next steps:

  • See if there are any land records for Alonzo Owen in Connecticut during that time frame. Look into what records are available for that area then.
  • Find Alonzo Owen’s probate records on FamilySearch. I have seen them before but can’t seem to find them at the moment so…. (maybe it was just the index?)
  • Alonzo was married before Hulda; he is shown alone in 1850, but shows a daughter “E” or “Agnes” born ~1848, before Alonzo and Hulda were married. He is about 15 years older than Hulda. Where was E or Agnes in 1850…? He was alone. Could there have been even older children?
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Sherwood Coventry

Sherwood is the child I have the least amount of information on. I’ve only got his name in one record, total, but I do have echoes of his existence elsewhere, and together they do make a good argument that he was part of this family as well.

Here’s what I have for him:

  • ~1828 Birth – according to the 1850 census
  • 1830 Residence – Liberty, Sullivan, NY Federal Census – possible child in the household of Robert Coventry
  • 1840 Residence – Broome, Schoharie, NY Federal Census – possible child in the household of Rachel Coventry
  • 1850 Residence – Copake, Columbia, NY, Federal Census, with wife Mahalia Coventry – this is the one record I have with his name

And that’s it. I believe he was still alive in 1855 but I can’t find them in the 1855 NY Census. I do however find his wife, Mahala Coventry, in many later census records:


Why Sherwood may be part of the Robert and Rachel Coventry family:

  • His age in the 1850 census (22) puts him at the right age for one of the children in the Coventry household.
  • He is living in Copake, which is close to where someone says Robert Coventry (the father) died in 1850 (the original page I found)
  • He and his wife are living with Rufus Clark in 1850. Rufus Clark is one of the children born to William and Janetje Clark, who are also Rachel Clark’s parents!
  • Mahala Coventry is found from 1860-1880 in the Liberty/Bethel/Thompson area, in one case living in the same household as Calvin Coventry, and in other cases living near the Benton family, which is who Chauncey’s daughter married into.


I haven’t usually gotten into the children in my posts, but in this case the story of the children tells a little about the family. Sherwood and Mahala had two children, Frank and Mary, born between 1850 and 1860. Mary later married a Canon, but she is not shown as living with Mahala in any census records until the 1880 census, where Mahala is shown as the mother-in-law in the household. Frank was adopted by or taken in by Peter Alberty. I’ll have to do a complete post on Frank one of these days, but to summarize, Peter Alberty lived close to Mahala Coventry in 1860; they are on the same page in the census where she is living with Calvin. Frank Coventry is then shown with Peter Alberty in the 1870 census. In 1880, Frank is alone, but his name is Frank Alberty, as in all later censuses. He is a blacksmith, just as Peter was. And then the twist – Frank’s death certificate (1923) shows his father as Frank Alberty, and mother as unknown. Though I haven’t researched this extensively, it’s likely that Peter Alberty had an older son, Frank Alberty, who did not have a son named Frank of that age in his own family in the census records. More research is needed. (And a couple side-notes: There are 2 Frank Alberty’s in Pennsylvania through the early 1900s, born within a year of each other, Frank S. Alberty and Frank E. Alberty. More on them in another post. Finally, others have researched the Alberty line, finding Frank S Alberty, and show his name as Frank Sherwood Coventry Alberty or Frank Sherwood Alberty. I haven’t seen yet where there is any documentation that shows his middle name as Sherwood, I’ve only seen the middle initial, S., so I hope to find something eventually.)



  • Where are Sherwood and Mahala in the 1855 NY Census?
  • Could there be newspaper records for around when Sherwood likely died, between 1857 and 1860?
  • Could there still be records remaining from the poor house Mahala and Frank lived in in 1860?
  • Where is Mary in 1860?
  • Could there be adoption records for Frank being adopted into the Alberty family?
  • Where did Mahala die? She was found in 1880 and then disappeared after that.


  • Search page-by-page in the 1855 census in Copake for Sherwood and Mahala, and if they aren’t there, search in Sullivan County – Bethel, Thompson, Liberty areas.
  • Look for newspapers for the city or county for Columbia and Sullivan Counties for between 1857 and 1860 for info about Sherwood.
  • Learn about poor houses in NY, and adoption in PA.
  • Broaden search for Mary in 1860 and in later years; see if I can find her death certificate.
  • Search the NY VR index for Mahala. Will need to go to NY to do so….
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Calvin Coventry

Calvin Coventry MapCalvin Coventry was born around 1825-1826, which would make him the 4th child of Robert and Rachel Coventry. Calvin was part of this family on this page, but without knowing where this information came from, well, I’m still looking for evidence, but there is a good case to be made.

He is found in the following records:

So what ties him to this family? The first piece is the mention on the Ancestry page linked to above. Obviously, that is just a hint to move us in the right direction, but here are a few other pieces that tie him to the family:

  • In 1850, Sarah J. Swart is found living with the family in Salisbury, CT. Other Swart children are found living with Chauncey and Hulda in later years. (See Cynthia Coventry for more info.)
  • Salisbury is just across the border from the southeastern most part of Columbia County, and just a few miles away from where Hulda settled, in North East, Dutchess County, New York.
  • He didn’t stay there for long but soon moved to Liberty, Sullivan County, where the Robert Coventry Family was found in 1830, and where Chauncey was found from 1855 on.
  • Mahala Coventry is living in his household in 1860. She and Sherwood Coventry were living with Rufus Clark in 1850. Rachel Clark Coventry has a brother named Rufus Clark (another post entirely).
  • He is listed on the same page as Chauncey Coventry in the gravestone inscriptions book. It’s not in order by date, or by alphabet, so I am wondering if it was ordered by place they were buried.


  • Where did Calvin meet his wife, where is her family from? That will help know where he was between 1840 and 1850, and see if that matches where I think the family is from.
  • What does his death certificate say, who are his parents? Should be able to get it from Bethel, NY.
  • What took him to Connecticut prior to 1850?
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James Spencer Coventry

James Spencer Coventry, known as Spencer Coventry in most records, came under the radar as a possible child of Robert and Rachel Coventry because he is the only Coventry living in Broome, Schoharie, NY, in 1850. That is the same town that Rachel Coventry was found in in 1840, with children who were about 10 years older than the children who were living with Robert Coventry in 1830 in Liberty, Sullivan County, with the addition of two more children.

I compared the neighbors of Rachel in the 1840 US Census and the neighbors of Spencer Coventry in the 1850 US Census, and there are multiple people who show living close to both of them, so I do believe that Spencer is living in the same place in 1850 that Rachel lived in 1840, here are their neighbors that were the same in both:

  • George Cook(e)
  • Christopher Hogaden/Hagadorn
  • Philip Couchman
  • Obediah Hoskins/Haskins
  • Cornelius Decker

Here are the additional records I’ve got for him:

The main threads that tie him into the family are that:

  • He appears to live in the same place that Rachel Coventry lived in 1840
  • From the correspondence, he was supposedly born in Hillsdale. Since that was about 1822, that is the exact place that Robert Coventry lived, and where Chauncey is said to have been born in 1821.
  • James, being his first name, was his grandfather’s name. Interesting though that he went by his middle name.
  • His son’s name is George Clark Coventry, Clark was Rachel’s maiden name.

Next steps:

  • I need to order his death certificate. Hopefully that will give his parents’ names!
  • Look for him in the 1892 NY Censu.? Will try to find him by going page by page, but he could have lived in Broome, Middleburg, Coxsackie, Livingstonville, or elsewhere…..
  • Get the name of the cemetery he is buried in, maybe they have some records too.
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Cynthia Coventry

Cynthia Coventry MapCynthia is probably the oldest child/oldest daughter of Robert and Rachel Coventry.

I was very excited to find an index of her christening record as a child of both Robert and Rachel Coventry in 1818. It’s the only other record I have ever come across with a Robert and Rachel Coventry together for the correct time frame.

That said, I don’t have much else on her, at all. It looks like she was with the family in the 1830 and 1840 censuses, but by the time 1850 rolls around, she’s nowhere to be found. I’m sure she got married in the intervening years, but here are the specifics of what I have:

The interesting part is in looking at the census records for Calvin and Chauncy Coventry and Hulda Owen in 1850, 1855, and 1860. To begin, this family that seems like it goes together only has two daughters, Cynthia and Hulda. Cynthia was born in 1818, Hulda in ~1830. So there’s a good 12 years between them. And I’ve already established that Hulda’s last name is Owen, leaving only Cynthia the mystery. So here are the interesting finds:

  • Chauncey has “Spencer Swart” living with him in 1855 and 1860 in Liberty. Spencer was 8 in 1855 and 13 in 1860. And…the best part about it? The 1855 New York census is wonderful for that time frame. It lists where children were born and their relationship to the head of household. Spencer is listed as “Nephew,” born in Columbia County and living in Sullivan County for 6 months. If that’s the case, it gives us a possibility for Cynthia’s married name, “Swart.” Cynthia’s only sister (assuming this is the correct family) is Hulda Jane Coventry who has not yet married in 1850.
  • Calvin has “Sarah J Swart” living with him in 1850. This looks like a poor candidate for a daughter of Cynthia because she would have been born in 1836, when Cynthia was just 18. And…the family living with Rachel in 1840 has a girl Cynthia’s age, but not a girl Sarah’s age. That doesn’t mean there’s not a connection, though… Perhaps Sarah is a relative of the Cynthia Swart family?
  • Hulda has “Loren Swart” living with her and her husband in 1860 in North East, Dutchess, NY. Loren, M, is 14, making him born close to 1846, making him close in age to Spencer.

Swart is actually a common name in Liberty, one of its earlier settlers was named Swart. Further searching doesn’t find many candidates for “Cynthia,” and none with the Swart surname, so this will be a work in progress.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to find these children in any other census records before or after these censuses. Of course, I haven’t ventured much outside of FamilySearch yet, so that will be my next work, to spread my search out further for these children.


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Chauncey Coventry

Map for Chauncey CoventryChauncey is one of the oldest children of Robert and Rachel Coventry. (At least, I think he is. Do I need to start every post in this series with “I think…”? Cuz I have no direct evidence, so, yeah, I probably do.)

I first found Chauncey when I found the record on for Robert and Rachel Coventry. But, alas, no sources. So I am researching him without being completely certain he’s my g-g-g-g-grand-uncle. That’s ok though.

Since then I have found him in the following:

Evidence that ties him to this family:

  • The Find a Grave reference to his birth in 1821 says he was born in Hillsdale. James Spencer Coventry was also said to have been born in Hillsdale in 1822. The family was most likely in Columbia County until sometime in the 1820s.
  • He lived much of his life in Liberty, Sullivan, NY, where Robert Coventry was found in 1830.
  • Spencer Swart is living with the family in 1855 at age 8, and 1860, age 13. In 1855, the census gives relationships, and it lists him as a Nephew. Could that be the clue to a sister’s surname? And…that’s not the last time we’ll see that surname…


  • Where was he in 1850??! He’s not in the US census indexes for that year, so I probably need to go page-by-page through the city records to see if he’s really there.
  • Where should I look for his death information in 1890?
  • Was there a New York census for 1885? Is his wife shown as being with him again?


  • Check with Sullivan County for death records in 1890 (e-mail sent)
  • Find original Sullivan County Democrat reference to Chauncey’s death (copy on FindAGrave)
  • Check into Hillsdale church records for his birth the 1820-1828 time frame
  • Check into Hillsdale history for the same time frame

I am really hoping his death record will show his parents’ names.

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Thin Threads – the Robert and Rachel Coventry family


I am trying to put information together about the Robert and Rachel Coventry family. Unfortunately, at the moment, it feels like the bits of information I have are just a bunch of thin threads, tiny clues that I am trying to put together to weave into a tapestry.

But…..when do you know your threads are strong enough to hold? Or when are they too thin, and threaten to unravel all of your hard work?

Robert and Rachel (Clark) Coventry were born in Columbia County, New York and got married sometime before ~1818 in Columbia County. I am trying to decide if all 8 children that could possibly be their children really are. These potential children are tied to the parents through thin – if coloful! – threads, and I’m looking for where do I look next.

My question

Where do I look next to find out more about their movements between Columbia County, Sullivan County, and Schoharie County from 1820-1850? What happened to Robert first, and then Rachel? And…why did the kids scatter between those 3 places by 1850?

What I’ve got

Here are the records that are the basis for what I’ve got so far after my initial online searches:

  • Robert, born 1793 in West Copake, Columbia, New York
  • Rachel, born 1794 in West Copake, Columbia, NY
  • Cynthia, daughter, born 1818 in Manorton?, Columbia, NY
  • 1820 Census – Hillsdale, Columbia, NY – Robt Coventry (yes, I promise, it’s Coventry and not Coomtrny 🙂 – one male, age 16-26, two females ages 20-26 and 0-10
  • James Spencer, born 1822 in Hillsdale, Columbia, NY (word of mouth from his descendant)
  • information showing 4 children in the family (Problem – I have no idea where this info came from!)
  • 1830 Census – Liberty, Sullivan, NY – Robert Coventry, father. Multiple children, match the ages from the data
  • 1840 Census – Broome, Schoharie, NY – Rachel Coventry, mother, multiple children, match the ages of the family in 1830 + 10 years
  • 1850 Census – Can’t find a Robert or Rachel Coventry anywhere. The rest of the potential children are scattered throughout Columbia, Sullivan, and Schoharie counties.
  • According to some online trees, and the page, Robert died back in West Copake, Columbia, NY in 1850.

I have started looking into the land records but haven’t gotten very far – turns out the Sullivan County Courthouse burned in 1909. Argh.

Their “possible” children in 1850

I don’t know if these are all children in the same family; but for now, I’m researching them all until they are confirmed. In future posts, I’ll share more about how I found each of these children and why they might be a part of the family. For now, I’ll just list where they were in 1850:

I looked through the 1820-1850 census indexes for any other mentions of Robert or Rachel Coventry. There are a few others, but none match the ages and dates as well as these do.

My Plan

I’m currently looking for the local genealogical/historical societies, or genealogy libraries, in these areas to ask them where to go next. But I am sure there is more that I can do to find them during these years.

What happened to them? Why did their family scatter to the four winds upon their (possible) deaths? And, are all of these kids really their children?

I can move into finding death certificates for them soon, but I don’t have good death dates for most of them yet.

So……any thoughts about where I should go from here?

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My family has a thing – when we start getting stressed out about something, someone will yell, “Adventure!” and then we all follow suit. It started on a family vacation a few years ago and has been super helpful to break the tension when we start to feel it building.

Sometimes genealogy is like that. It can cause plenty of tension. But it’s great fun at the same time! So this blog is my reminder that the “adventure” of genealogy should not get lost in the tension of it. Or the tediousness of source citations. Because I intend to have fun with it!

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