I’m not a Conover or Kouwenhoven, but I’m interested in the meaning of the name Kouwen. The Dutch Word hoven means a house, garden, farm, or as some may say a haven.
I am, however, descended from the New Jersey Pottman’s who are today known as Putman. Their ancestor was Johannes Pootman whose name might mean Pitman, Wellman, or Poolman although Portman has also been suggested.
David Pottman’s [Potman’s] grand-daughter married Garret Conover or Kouwenhoven. They lived in the 1700’s near Potterstown, NJ, which I think may be a namesake for David Pottman.
What does Kouwen mean?
From information on the Internet, the Putman YNDA is similar to that of Egidius Colvenear or Covenaer who was born in Belgium about 1555. We match on 11 of 12 markers.
Egidius Colvenaer surname seems to contain the root word Coven.
The root of the surname Kouwenhoven has been suggested as “Chilly Haven” and “Cow Haven”.
In Dutch, “Coe” means cow while “Kou” means to chill. “Kouwelijk means chilly.
The Dutch surname Coeyman is said to mean cowman.
In German, “Kuh” means cow while “Kuhl” means to be cold or chilly but also to be a pit, hollow, or cave.
Another German word for pit is “grube” , which is somewhat similar to Cove”. Cove has the Latin root “cavus or Cavum” meaning a cave.
Also, in German a “kufer” is a cooper, barrel maker, or cellar man
The Old High German word “kouf” means basically an innkeeper, which comes from or is connected with Latin caupo” meaning a small shop keeper or innkeeper.
Just to throw in a Swedish word, “Kula” in Swedish means a pit or cave while “ko” means cow. In Swedish, “Kyla” means to be chilly.
The “w” in the name Kouwenhoven seems to be important, which seems to be connected with the word “kouwelijk” meaning chilly, but why would a place be called the Chilly Place?
I would suggest that Kouwenhoven means Cove Haven, which might mean a place where there is a pit, cave, or cavern.
One might call such a person who lived in this place a cellar man who would also be a person who would have worked, or lived, in a cool place!
Mark R. Putnam
P. S. In Swedish a “Kallar” is a cellar man while “kalla” means a spring or well. Anciently, a cellar was “an underground room used to store provisions” such as a room dug in the ground often covered with sod. Certainly, an innkeeper who wanted to keep things cool in barrels would use a pit or a cellar.