The name originally was spelled completely differently than what it was later "corrupted" to...
vonGochnat was the name. This may have even once been something else too, as the place origin prior to Germany may have been Switzerland.
Since the time of first vonGochnat immigrating to the U.S. many changes have been made in the spelling, many probably due to the misinterpretation or pronunciation of the name as heard by those doing the census's, baptismal records, etc.It would appear that once these small changes were made they tended to stick or better yet, changed even more.
There are several major lines with similar, yet different spellings of this name now.Here are what I find to be the majority of the current spellings; Coughnet, VanKoughnet, VanKoughnett, VanCoughnet, VanCoughnett and VanConant.Some use a space between the Van & Koughnet, some use a small 'k' or 'c'.At one time I counted over 40 different spellings of the name in different records, not counting those that just changed the capitalization or put the space inbetween.
As far as the meaning behind the name, perhaps Paul would have some idea on this?Paul are you out there?