Barry's Genealogy Diary

This online genealogical diary is hosted by Barry T. Self. It is primarily for information pertaining to the SELF surname, more particularly for descendants of John J. and Lydia Avaline Waters Self, who were married in Union County, GA in 1851. Barry Self is the SELF proclaimed family genealogist and historian, having spent over 20 years researching this Self line. This diary is dedicated to preserving and sharing the findings of his research.

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Location: Madisonville, Tennessee, United States

I am married to a wonderful and sweet wife, Svitlana, who is from Ukraine and we have a beautiful daughter, Lydia Elizabeth. I have worked in the funeral business since 1988 and thoroughly enjoy researching my family roots.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Recently, after some persistent research, the location of what appears to be the first real estate to be owned by our Self family in Monroe County, Tennessee was discovered. Let me explain.

J.R. Self bought 160 acres on August 1, 1893 for $100.oo from Thos. G. and N.L. Harvey in Monroe County, TN. The deed description is as follows: 160 acres in the Ocoee Land District, 20th Civil District of Monroe County, TN on Turkey Creek, 5th Range, East of Meridian, S.E. quarter of section 35, in 2nd Fractional Township. (W.D. Book 1, pages 384-385)

J.R. Sherman Self was the son of John J. and Lydia Avaline Waters Self. He was born March 19, 1865 and was 28 years old when he purchased this tract of land. Our Self ancestors are believed to have been living in Monroe County for at least 7 years by 1893. J.R. Self sold this land to the Tellico River Lumber Company in 1910 for $800.00 (W.D. Book 15, page 233)

It is interesting to note that J.R. Self's brother, C.C. (Cicero) Self, bought an adjoining 160 acres on June 6, 1900 from W.D. Henderson and W.D. Hale for $75.00. It is described as being in the 20th district, being the north east quarter of section 35, Range 5 East, Fractional Township 2 North, Ocoee Land District, containing 160 acres more or less. C.C. Self sold this property to a William Butler only 6 months after he purchased it. (W.D. Book 6, pages 186-187, W.D. Book 6, page 299.

A few months ago I made a visit to the Tellico Ranger Station in Tellico Plains and sought the help of a ranger in pinpointing the exact location of the two aforementioned tracts of land. Using forest service maps, we were able to determine where the properties are located. Plese see the photos of the two maps accompanying this story.

Each square on the maps represents one square mile or 640 acres. Each square mile is divided into four equal quarters or 160 acres. The black and white map shows highlighted in blue section 35 of FT2N R5E in which J.R. Self and C.C. Self each owned 160 acres. Section 3 of FT3N R5E is also highlighted. Oral history accounts state that Cicero Self once lived very close to Miller Chapel Church at Turkey Creek. The specific site on which he supposedly lived lies within section 3. The map shown in color also shows both sections in a little different detail.

The land referenced here is now owned by the federal government. It is forest service property, part of the Cherokee National Forest. The Cherohala Skyway, a beautiful scenic highway, goes through this property, running from Tellico Plains to Robbinsville, North Carolina.

In case anyone asks you where your Self family came to Tennessee from, this would be a correct response. They came from north Georgia, Union and Lumpkin Counties, to Monroe County, Tennessee around 1886 and settled at Turkey Creek in the mountains above Tellico Plains. This is where our Self family first settled in Tennessee. Or at least the research I have done brings me to this conclusion.

C.C. (Cicero) Self bought land in Blount County, TN in 1900, but that is a topic for another story.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I would like to suggest if you read something on this site that you want to keep or remember that you copy it off onto paper. You can do what I am going to do. Copy it off onto paper and start yourself a notebook of information from this site. You can use a three-ring binder, folder or any other type of notebook you wish to keep up with the stories you read here. There is a reason I suggest this. The stories you see here will not always be here. I will delete some of them from time to time. I will also delete some of the pictures. If you start copying them off to paper, you will have a permanent record of what you see and read about your Self family on this site. In a little while, you will have your very own Self Family "history book" , because that is excactly what this site is... Self history. It' s kinda like cutting clippings out of the newspaper.


I am sorry for not getting any pictures of the Self reunion that was held on September 17th loaded to this site yet. To be perfectly honest, I have not had the time to scan the pictures, what few I have, and get them placed for all of you to see. John Henegar took a few and sent me those on a cd, but I need to put names with those pictures too before loading them. I promise to get them on here as soon as possible. Be patient.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Approximately 86 Self relatives attended the annual reunion held Saturday, September 17, 2005 at Camp Tipton Park in Maryville, TN. The weather was really nice for the event. The ladies (and a few gentlemen) outdid themselves in providing a delicious meal for all to enjoy. We are blessed with some really great cooks. I heard several comments about the food. Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.

The reunion began around 4 p.m. with opening remarks and a welcome to all by our hostess, Ruth Self Bryant. J.L. Self was asked to lead everyone in a prayer of thanks for the meal before we ate. After the meal, we all enjoyed a time of fellowship and getting acquainted or re-acquainted. There was lots of picture taking and videotaping going on. L.J. Moon, a friend of Gertrude Self Sewell, shot a video and afterwards played it back on a small television. Several gathered around to see what they look like on t.v.. The younger children enjoyed being on the playground with their seldom-seen cousins.

It was an honor to have Daisy Hawk Murray, a granddaughter to Lewis Self join us for the first time. Daisy came from the state of Washington to attend the reunion and meet some cousins she had never met. The award for "who travelled the farthest" would have to go to Penney Self Ratliff and her son, Wesley Cole Ratliff, who came all the way from Italy. Penney is the daughter of Rick and Jerry Self.

The youngest little cousin to attend the reunion this year was AnnaLee Dacey Simpson, born August 24, 2005. She is the daughter of Jackie Self Simpson and Kevin Simpson of Cleveland, TN. Jackie is the daughter of Rick and Jerry Self.

We will not go into the subject of who would get the award for being the eldest attendee. It might be a female and a womans age can be a touchy subject. For many years the honor went to Douglas Self, who is now 98. Douglas has not been able to attend the reunion for the last couple of years.

My personal thanks and appreciation goes to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend the reunion. It certainly was great to see all of you again. See you all next year. (Pictures from the reunion will follow on this site in the near future.)

Friday, September 16, 2005


Jessie Thomas Coleman, age 86, of Madisonville, Tennessee, passed away 7:58 P.M. Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at his home, surrounded by his family. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army having served during World War II. He was a member of Westside Baptist Church. He was a son of the late Jessie Anderson and Laura Ellen Self Coleman. (Laura Ellen Self was a daughter to Rev. John and Mary Self and a granddaughter to John J. and Lydia Waters Self.) Jessie is survived by his wife- Sara Kate Coleman, daughters and sons-in-law- Judy and Jim Bryson, Glenda and Creed Calhoun, sons and daughters-in-law- Joe and Teressa Coleman, Jerry and Debbie Coleman, all of Madisonville, Joyce Potter Coleman, of Sweetwater. 9 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Thomas K. Coleman, great grandson, Joshua Tinnel, sisters, Vesta Coleman, Emma Coleman, brothers, Leonard and Glen Coleman.

The Funeral was held 8:00 P.M. Friday, September 16, 2005 at Biereley-Hale Funeral Home. Rev. Lee Chorn and Rev. Bob Hatley officiated. Interment 3:00 P.M. Saturday, Mt. Zion Cemetery, Vonore, TN with full military honors. Arrangements by Biereley-Hale Funeral Home, Madisonville, TN.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Cousin Fred Self on Hand for Memorial Dedication

Recently I came upon an article in the Knoxville News -Sentinel. It was entitled " Memories Set in Stone". The story concerned the unveiling of a monument on the grounds of the Blount County Courthouse in Maryville, Tennessee. The monument commemorates "those who participated in the Battle of the Bulge, arguably the most decisive confrontation of World War II."

My attention was drawn to the article by the photograph that accompanied it. The name Fred Self stood out in bold letters under the picture, along with the names of Archie Whitehead and Marlow Hearon, veterans who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. They were pictured standing near the newly erected monument. All three were present for the dedication of the monument which was attended by about 200 people on Saturday, August 27th.

I knew cousin Fred was a veteran of World War II and this newspaper article brought to my remembrance something I once heard him say concerning his military service. Fred is a Baptist minister and his comments were made during a sermon he preached at a revival meeting at Union Grove Baptist Church on July 27, 1980. It took me awhile to find it, but I happen to have an audio tape of that particular sermon. The following quote is in Fred's own words.

"I remember when I come back from the service. I come in to the New York Harbor. Oh, how glad I was to get home. I remember when we come into sight of that big city. I could begin to see the big skyline of new York. I had been gone for about 28, 29 months, something like that. The war was over. I had lived through it, which a lot of 'em did not, which a lot of 'em did not. I had 276 men in my Company. Only 48 of us come back home. I had 42 men in my Platoon. Only 8 of us come back home. There was 13 men in my Squad. There was only one come back. That was me. I couldn't understand it. I remember when I come in. The old ship pulled into New York Harbor. The war was over. My, they had the bands there and they began to strike up the bands and began to play. Boy, just made cold chills run over me. We got just a little closer in. They just took us around, uh, Old Glory, you know, the Statue of Liberty, let us look at, oh, I'll never forget how I felt... We come in pretty close to the docks. We could see fathers, mothers, children, little boys, little girls who was able, you know, to come to New York and meet their husbands, their children, their sons coming back home. They was there. Ah, they'd wave when they'd recognize a family and they'd see their boy, they'd wave and they'd throw kisses."

This personal account by Fred stayed with me all these years. I don't think I will ever forget it. I am glad he did make it back home. His service to his country is to be commended and I am glad he and many others are now being recognized for their service. They certainly deserve our heartfelt gratitude and that of a grateful nation. Fred is the son of the late Luther Self. He and his wife Anna Mae live in Maryville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


A few weeks ago I was looking at a free trial offer on and was able to access their World War I Draft Registration Cards. These cards contain some very interesting information. I did a search and was able to locate all the Self men that registered for the draft for a particular area. I searched for Monroe and Blount Counties in Tennessee and found 12 Self men from our branch of the family who registered. Those were: Harrison C. Self, Miles C. Self, William Lee Onie Self, William Floyd Self, Luther Self, Sherman Self, William Emery Self, Roley S. Self, John Simp Self, George Washington Self, Floyd James Self and Fred Self. AS I stated, their draft cards contain some very interesting information such as their addresses, next-of-kin, dates of birth, occupations, height, color of eyes and hair.

I would like to know if any of these men were actually drafted to serve during the war.

World War I was declared on July 28, 1914 and the United States entered the war on April 6, 1917. The war ended (Armistice) on November 11, 1918. The Selective Service Act required men between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for the draft. 2, 800,000 men were inducted during the war in the United States. About 2,000,000 American soldiers served in France. There were 116, 516 U.S. military casualties.

If anyone knows if any of our Self men served, I would appreciate hearing about it. I will also be happy to share any of the information I found from the draft cards upon request.