A Visit with Jim Behan -- Early March 1998
A "Trip Report" For the Rootsweb Woodworth genealogy mail list discussion Group
Many Woodworth researchers have wondered what happened to Jeanette Woodworth Behan, author of "Descendants of Walter Woodworth", and to her husband Jim Behan. Jeanette passed away in 1989 from cancer, after working on Woodworth genealogy as a hobby for some 25 years. Jeanette got her start when inquiring to Maurice E. Woodworth of Tulsa about becoming a member of the DAR, and wound up in a genealogy partnership until Maurice passed away. The thoroughness, caution, integrity, compassion, and productivity of Jeanette's work is something that anyone interested in Woodworth genealogy everywhere can be very grateful for. She admitted her work is bound to have errors, and hoped her book would serve as a basis for advancement as more information becomes available.
So two Woodworth brothers and their wives found that Jim Behan had moved to Dunnegan, Missouri, and decided to pay a visit if we could get invited. Jim provided a detailed map, and we found it essential as we traveled rural roads and a rickety bridge. When we got there, here's the Jim we found:
(above) Jim Behan
And in this heavily wooded backwoods area, Jim has a studio with computer and scanner. He is connected to the internet, but noisy rural lines make anything but e-mail very slow. He has a woodworking shop, and just completed an office for his BSA scouting activities, which he gives priority. A rural setting like this is where Jim and Jeanette had planned to retire.
Jim and his younger son Scott do plan on developing and publishing a Walter Woodworth 7th generation book, which would be Volume 2. This effort is in honor of Jeanette and her work, and certainly not for profit as it took 20 years to finally break even on Volume 1. At present, Jim is scanning Jeanette's manuscripts and converting them to Word 6.0. The format for Volume 2 would be more flexible, and allow loose leaf additions as more data is developed or corrected. By the way, Volume 1 has sold out.
Jim does receive mail from genealogists, and he responds to all, although he's about a year behind on some letters. I glanced at the stack of envelopes and noticed some familiar names from the Woodworth Discussion Group.
So, yes, Jim is seeking material for the 7th generation. For content, here is what Jeanette said in her newsletter of Nov-Dec 1984 newsletter:
"1. ...(Send queries)...
2. Submit your pedigree charts showing your Woodworth line.
3. Submit your Woodworth family group sheets.
4. Submit your biographies of Woodworth ancestors and/or personal biography as well.
5. Submit extracts from census or other civil records, church records, Bible, and family records on the Woodworth surname.
The quality of the contents of the Woodworth Family Newsletter depends upon generous contributions of outside material. Please send your Woodworth material for publication."
Of course, now, in addition to the above, a printed out chart and a GEDCOM or FTM file would help, too.
Jim said that citing the source of the material was important, especially older material. The convergence of Bible entries, tombstone, letters, obits, etc, providing the same data from independent sources gives that data more credence.
(above) Virginia and Bill Woodworth, Jim Behan. Looking over notebook of 7th Generation Woodworths
(above) Bill Woodworth, Jim Behan, and Marvin "Woody" Woodworth, March 1998
Woodworth Coats of Arms
While there, Jim showed us an alleged "attested"
copy of the Woodworth Coat of Arms, provided by Holmes-Corey, Ltd Heraldry
Library of Boston, MA. Jeanette had acquired it by mail order from a
genealogy magazine; however, she
never commented in her writings about the Holmes-Corey alleged "Woodworth Coat
of Arms". According to Jeanette's newsletters in the late 1980s, the
"grasshopper" coat of arms was assigned to Richard Woodward of 16th century England, according to 1884 (not 1984, but 1884) material. The assumption with some
until recent times had been that Woodworth is a variant of Woodward. However, genealogists
have found that there were both Woodworths and Woodwards spellings existing in England in the
early 1600s. Recent DNA shows, so far, that the Woodworths and Woodwards
are genetically unrelated. As the "grasshopper coat of arms" is
clearly associated only with documented descendants of Richard Woodward, and DNA shows that
both the Walter
Woodworth and "William Woodworth, soldier of Quebec" lines are not genetically
related to any Woodwards, the use of the "grasshopper coat of arms" as a
Walter Woodworth Coat of Arms is highly questionable. Further, as we only know
that Walter came from somewhere in England -- probably the Kent County area --
or the Puritan colony in Holland affiliated with John Rogers (the John Rogers
who had a daughter Elizabeth that some claim married Walter), and that he came over as an indentured,
uneducated servant, his affiliation with any coat of arms is highly unlikely.
Coats of Arms, in any case, are limited to individuals, and can be inherited by
direct family descendants if officially authorized by a country's heraldry
office, and only if the line from the individual to his descendants is documented. There is no
"generic surname" coat of arms.
In other words, the Holmes-Corey "coat of arms" is fake, and that's why Jeanette never displayed it. For more details, see the web page "Woodworth Coat of Arms".
I've tried to find the Holmes-Corey, Ltd Heraldry Library of
Boston, MA business that issued the above coat of arms, and they
ceased business in the mid-1980s shortly after Jeanette received her order.
A week after we got home from Missouri, another "Woodworth" coat of arms turned up from a Mesa, AZ source that had a booth at a local Scottish festival. This coat of arms sounded dubious also, as they claim it is the "first one", but then go on to state that there were many variant spellings of the same "sounds like" name, as well as variants going from French to English pronunciation. I bought a copy of an alleged Woodworth coat of arms with accompanying "history" of the name as shown below. I omitted the printed history, though, in case someone wants to print the coat of arms. A year later, I ordered a coffee cup with the alleged Woodworth coat of arms, just for the heck of it, wrong or not.
The business I bought the coat of arms copy from appears to have been a licensee
of a Hall of Names by Swyrich in
Kingston, Ontario, Canada who licenses the selling of family coat of arms material.
You can probably find an operation licensed from this business in the
aisle area of your local shopping mall. Official heraldry offices
in England say such businesses as these are generally inaccurate and misleading.
You can find more information by looking in search engines for "coat
of arms", "heraldry", "family crest", etc. A URL providing multiple
NOTE: "Family heraldry" and family coats of arms as practiced today is significantly misused. See Dick Eastman's article: The Myth of Family Coats of Arms
For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Updated 7 Feb 2007