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I have read here and elsewhere (Don't remember where) that the Beornings are descendants of Beorn. I guess this logic derives from the name (cf. Eorlingas), however I find it crazy that a whole sub-people would span out of a single man, especially since he appeared to be a loner. Foster says that Beorn was their chieftain, not their originator.

Also compare Bardings, the people of Bard the Bowman. Though not explicitly stated, I would say it's very likely that Tolkien by Beornings referred to the people of Beorn, his descendants. --Morgan 12:42, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Sage, I noticed that you added "The Beornings as the Woodmen, are akin to the Third House of the First Age<ref>{{HM|UT}}, ''[[Cirion and Éorl]]''</ref>". Would you mind expanding a bit here what you mean? The reasoning is not entirely clear to me (although I don't claim to know much about the history of Men in Tolkien's works) ;-) --Morgan 02:08, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
It could be the case, couldn't it, that Beorn had a great many (distant) relatives and descendants all referred to as "Beornings"? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 17:05, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Also, the article mentions that they retained his shapeshifting ability. Where is this mentioned? Sage 11:08, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

See quote from Hobbit chapter 18 below.--Morgan 12:42, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Tracing some references

[edit] Origin and language

The Éothéod had moved to those regions in the days of King Eärnil II from lands in the vales of Anduin between the Carrock and the Gladden, and they were in origin close akin to the Beornings and the men of the west-eaves of the forest. The forefathers, of Eorl claimed descent from kings of Rhovanion, whose realm lay beyond Mirkwood before the invasions of the Wainriders, and thus they accounted themselves kinsmen of the kings of Gondor descended from Eldacar.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
[The Éothéod] were originally close kin of the Beornings and the men of the west-eaves of the forest; ...
J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "IX. The Making of Appendix A": (iii) "The House of Eorl", p. 272
Most of the Men of the northern regions of the Westlands were descended from the _Edain_ of the First Age, or from their close kin. Their languages were, therefore, related to the Adûnaic, and some still preserved a likeness to the Common Speech. Of this kind were the peoples of the upper vales of Anduin: the Beornings, and the Woodmen of Western Mirkwood; and further north and east the Men of the Long Lake and of Dale.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"
East of the Misty Mountains, even far to the north, the Common Speech was known; though there, as in Esgaroth [> as beside the Long Lake] or in Dale, or among the Beornings and the Woodmen of the west-eaves of Mirkwood, Men also retained their own tongues in daily use.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "II. The Appendix on Languages", p. 34 (§14)
It was called the Western language or Common Speech; and in Bilbo's time had already passed eastward over the Misty Mountains and reached Lake Town, and Beorn, and even Smaug (dragons were ready linguists in all ages)....
J.R.R. Tolkien, "Letter to Leila Keene and Pat Kirke" (cf. The Peoples of Middle-earth, p. 72)
[The Rohirrim] have long been the friends of the people of Gondor, though they are not akin to them. It was in forgotten years long ago that Eorl the Young brought them out of the North, and their kinship is rather with the Bardings of Dale, and with the Beornings of the Wood, among whom may still be seen many men tall and fair, as are the Riders of Rohan.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Riders of Rohan"
Beorn indeed became a great chief afterwards in those regions and ruled a wide land between the mountains and the wood; and it is said that for many generations the men of his line had the power of taking bear's shape, and some were grim men and bad, but most were in heart like Beorn, if less in size and strength. In their day the last goblins were hunted from the Misty Mountains and a new peace came over the edge of the Wild.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"

[edit] Other

Thranduil took all the northern region as far as the mountains that rise in the forest for his realm; and Celeborn took the southern wood below the Narrows, and named it East Lórien; all the wide forest between was given to the Beornings and the Woodmen.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"

Frodo learned that Grimbeorn the Old, son of Beorn, was now the lord of many sturdy men, and to their land between the Mountains and Mirkwood neither orc nor wolf dared to go.
"Indeed," said Glóin, "if it were not for the Beornings, the passage from Dale to Rivendell would long ago have become impossible. They are valiant men and keep open the High Pass and the Ford of Carrock. But their tolls are high," he added with a shake of his head; "and like Beorn of old they are not over fond of dwarves. Still, they are trusty, and that is much in these days."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
[Beorn speaking: "I am not over fond of dwarves"
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
"[Gimli speaking:] Were it not for the Beornings the passage from Dale to Rivendell would not be possible. My father and I had the aid of Grimbeorn on our way west in the autumn.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, p. 263-4 (note 15)
[Frodo's vision when wearing the ring at Amon Hen:] The land of the Beornings was aflame; a cloud was over Moria; smoke rose on the borders of Lórien.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship"
[By the Carrock, Aragorn hunting Gollum] crossed Anduin again, with the help of the Beornings, and passed into the Forest.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", "(ii) Other Versions of the Story"
Beorn is dead; see vol. I p. 241. He appeared in The Hobbit. It was then the year Third Age 2940 (Shire-reckoning 1340). We are now in the years 3018-19 (1418-19). Though a skin-changer and no doubt a bit of a magician, Beorn was a Man.
J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)

"...Why [lembas] is better than the honey-cakes of the Beornings, and that is great praise, for the Beornings are the best bakers that I know of; but they are none too willing to deal out their cakes to travellers in these days. You are kindly hosts!"
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lórien"