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.

My Photo
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.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Edwin Hill Home From Ramadi

Cousin Edwin Hill, age 25, son of Duane and Vickie Hill, of Tullahoma, TN, recently returned home from serving in the War on Terrorism. He got out as a sergeant and served with the H & S Company 5th Marines stationed at Ramadi. His platoon lieutenant was killed and Edwin moved into his position as a platoon leader while he was a corporal. He did such a great job over 34 men, that the Marines kept him in this position for 6 months until he returned home.

Edwin was injured himself more than once I believe during his time serving his country. By prayers and the grace of God he is now back in the states and home safe. His dad tells me Edwin is now back at work, working with the sheriff's department in Columbus, Georgia.

Edwin has an older brother, Gabriel and a younger sister, Karie, who I believe got married not too long ago. He is the grandson of the late Howard and Lucy Self Hill. Lucy was the daughter of William Emery and Mary Self.

The accompanying picture is courtesy of Edwin's father. Duane sent me the neatest CD several months ago with several pictures, set to music, showing Edwin and his fellow soldiers in action. I wish everyone could see it. I selected this photo from the CD.

Lawson Sherman and Winnie Self Family Reunion

The family of Lawson Sherman Self and Winnie Self held a reunion in Cleveland, Tennessee on Monday, July 4, 2005. I had planned to attend this reunion, but due to my having to work on Independence Day, I missed the event. Joy Shook was kind enough to provide me a picture to share with everyone.

Pictured are:

(Standing)- Trent Rogers, Eddie Self, Thomas Rogers, David Rogers, Jane Rogers Banther, Sandy Rogers. (Seated)- Dianne Self King, Dianne Self Brown, Joy Self Shook, Dorothy Rogers Dunn, Cornelia Self Callahan, Kay Self Pendergrass, and Tammy Self.

All the Rogers kids are the kids of Lee Self and Roy Rogers. Eddie and Kay are the kids of Beecher Self and Sue Johnson Self. Dianne Brown and Joy Shook are the kids of James and Nora Johnson Self. Dianne King, Cornelia Callahan, and Tammy Self are the kids of Uless and Virginia Self. They are all the grandkids of Lawson Sherman and Winnie Self. Thanks to Joy Shook for providing the picture and identification. Maybe I'll be able to attend the next reunion guys.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Anyone who would like to contact me with an idea or family news of any kind for this blog site may do so by one of the following ways. E-mail me at: or call me at Ph.(423)420-9253. It is usually best to call after 9:30 P.M.. Otherwise, I may be at work and you will have to talk to Svitlana and/or leave a message with her or our answering machine. I invite and welcome your correspondences.

Our earliest DOCUMENTED Ancestor

I get asked from time to time by Self cousins who our earliest ancestor was or how far back I have been able to trace our family tree. I usually begin by telling them about our earliest documented Self ancestor. Anything beyond him is for the most part speculation or at least it is right now.

John Jones Self was my great-great-great-grandfather. He was born in 1825 according to the 1900 Census. One record shows September as the month of his birth. He died March 5, 1910. The best I can determine he was probabably born in North Carolina. He died at home in the mountains of Tellico Plains, Tennessee in a small community called Rafter,possibly named so because it is high up in the mountains of east Tennessee. He died of "old age". He was 85 years old. It is believed that John was a son to Job Self, who was born circa (about) 1790 and died in 1881. This has not been proven with documentation. This is a commonly held theory among several researchers.

John married Lydia Avaline Waters on October 23, 1851 in Union County, Georgia. Blairsville is the county seat of Union County and it is a beautiful area of the country as are the mountains of Monroe County, Tennessee where they eventually settled and lived out their final years on this earth. Lydia was born in 1833 and died May 12, 1915, 5 years after John passed away. According to Lila Self Hunt, a granddaughter,who is now deceased, John and Lydia are buried at one of the four cemeteries at Rafter. She said they are buried at the Giles or Roberts Cemetery as it is often referred to. Their graves are marked only by field stones. John and Lydia had at least 11 and possibly 13 children.

It appears John and Lydia Self moved to Monroe County, Tennessee from north Georgia around 1883. I have not located a deed in Monroe County records indicating that John ever owned property in Monroe County, but we know from verbal accounts and other records that he lived in the mountains above Tellico Plains at Rafter.

The accompanying photograph was taken around 1900 I have estimated. It is likely the only one that exists of John and Lydia. I know of one other copy of this photo that a relative has. Other than that, I have never seen another. This particular picture of them was cropped from a group picture that also includes John and Lydia's daughter Dovie and daughter-in-law Lillie with grandsons Onie and Will Self.

Job Self, the apparent father to John J. Self, is believed to have lived until 1881 when he died in Lumpkin County, Georgia. His grave has not been located. He was married teice we think. First to Sarah_____ and secondly to Susan Oaks, who he married on August 1, 1878 when he was 80 years old and she was 75. They married in Lumpkin COunty, GA. Two newspaper articles that have been found help document Job's last few years.

"Married. On Thursday evening last Mr. Job Self to Mrs._____Oaks, all of this county. The age of the contracting parties renders the affair somewhat remarkable. The bridegroom being eighty years old and the bride about seventy-five."
This was taken from the Mountain Signal Newspaper, Dahlonega, Georgia, August 2, 1878.

"Mr. Job Self, (of whose sickness we made mention last week) died on Wednesday last, at his residence near Jones' Chapel. He had been sick for some time and finally had to succumb to extreme old age." This was taken from the Dahlonega Signal Newspaper, June 10, 1881. My thanks to Judy Cardwell, who graciously sent me these pieces from the newspapers. She is no relation by the way.

I am not sure if there is a cemetery for the Jones Chapel Church or not. I plan to make a trip to Lumpkin County, Georgia perhaps this coming Fall to look into it. Jones Chapel was a Methodist Church that once stood adjacent to Bethlehem Baptist Church on Camp Wahsega Road, north of Dahlonega, Georgia. Bethlehem Baptist Church was established in 1839. I have not been able to find any information on Jones Chapel Church other than what I have mentioned here. Mr. Job Self may be buried at the Behtlehem Baptist Church Cemetery if it was nearby his residence. He apparently lived closer to the Jones Chapel Church than he did the Baptist Church, since the news article of his death referred to Jones Chapel instead of Bethlehem Baptist Church. My thanks goes to a Mr. Jimmy Anderson for information on Jones Chapel.

Beyond this, there are several theories that different researchers have come up with to link this Job Self to Robert Self, who was born circa 1637 and who is believed by most to be our first Self immigrant to the United States. Documentation does not yet exist to prove direct lineage to Robert, often referred to as Olde Robert. As far as I know no one doing Self research anywhere in this world has been able to positively link to Olde Robert. Oh, how we would all love to. If and when someone does, the rest of the clan will beat a path to their door no doubt. It is yet to be done.

This is as far back as I can personally go. John J. Self is as far as I can document and show proof that he is my ancestor, but I am still looking to be able to prove one day on back to Job Self. We are pretty sure he is the next down the line for our particular Self line, but it needs to be proven. It may never be done, but is sure is a lot of fun looking.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Cousin Jeff Butler Serving In Iraq

Sgt. Jeffery A. Butler, age 35 of Madisonville, TN is serving in Iraq with the Army National Guard, Troop B 1/278th, based in Sweetwater, TN. Jeff arrived in Kuwait on Thanksgiving Day, 2004 and has been in Iraq since the first of December. His F.O.B.
(Forward Operating Base) is currently located about 50 miles north of Bagdad. They run combat patrols every day, do raids and escort missions. They are presently attached to the 1/128th INF. Their actual unit is the K-Troop out of Jamestown, Tennessee. Jeff was able to come home for a short visit this past June.

Jeff's wife, Kaye Butler, is the leader of the Family Readiness Group for the Sweetwater Tennessee unit of the Army National Guard. Her responsibilities include offering moral support to the spouses and families of soldiers who are serving with her husband in Iraq. The group meets once monthly and in addition to offering moral support they also offer some financial assistance to families of the soldiers. They also send care packages to the soldiers in Iraq.

Jeff Butler is the son of Rev. John and Shirley Butler of Madisonville, TN. He and Kaye have two sons, Jacob Allen Butler and Jordon Reynolds. He has one sister and one brother, Sheila Belcher and Patrick Butler of Madisonville. His grandmother, Ersie Self Cooper, lives in Vonore, TN. Jeff is a great-great-great grandson to John J. and Lydia Waters Self. His direct genealogy is as follows: Jeff Butler, Shirley Cooper Butler, Ersie Self Cooper, William Emery Self, Rev. C.C. Self, John J. Self.

Greetings and well-wishes may be e-mailed to Jeff at the following address:

Friday, July 22, 2005

Texan's Secret for Old Age

They say a lot of Selfs went to Texas so this is for them...

A tough old Texas cowboy once counseled his grandson that if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gunpowder on his oatmeal every morning. The grandson did this religiously and lived to be 110. He left four children, 20 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, 10 great-great grandchildren and a 50 foot hole where the crematorium used to be.

(Thanks to my aunt Ruthie Coleman for this little clipping she found in the local paper.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Rev. Emery Dexter "Douglas" Self of Maryville, Tennessee will turn 98 on Friday, July 22, 2005. He was born in 1907 in Blount County, Tennessee, a son of John Simpson Self and Julie Annis Bowers Self. Douglas is a grandson to Rev. C.C. (Cicero) and Mosurie Whitmore Self and a great-grandson to John J. and Lydia Waters Self.

Douglas married Mina L. Whitehead on December 24, 1927. He once told me that the first time he saw Mina he knew she was the girl for him. Together they had four children. They are: Charles Dexter Self, Virl Eugene Self, Katherine Bernice Boring and Mildred Yvonne Potts.

Douglas is our oldest living Self relative directly descended from our progenitor, John J. Self.

I took the photograph of Douglas a few years ago when he and I were visiting the cemetery at Chilhowee "Red Top" Primitive Baptist Church. Several of the Self family are buried at this cemetery.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

News of the 2005 Self Gathering in Chattanooga

On Saturday, April 23, 2005, I was honored to represent our branch of the Self Family at the 8th annual Self Gathering at the Comfort Inn Chattanooga in Chattanooga, TN. This gathering was the first to be held in Tennessee since the Self Family Newsletter membership began meeting annually to share research findings and to have the chance to meet people we have only corresponded with, but never actually met in person.

The event was overshadowed by the sad fact that Dan McCarthy, the founding editor of the Self Family Newsletter, had passed away on March 22, 2005 at the age of 61. Dan lived in Calhoun, GA. He was loved and respected by many Self Family researchers and his death impacted a lot of people. Dan was very dedicated to Self Family research and he will be greatly missed.

Everyone attending had the opportunity to meet Doris Howard the new publishing editor of SFN. Doris lives in Columbus, GA and will make a great editor. She is very enthusiastic about the Self Family Newsletter and its mission.

The Self Gathering was a 3 day event. I was only able to attend on Saturday. The other 2 days were spent mostly on entertainment and sightseeing by many of the attendees.

On Saturday, the group enjoyed the following itinerary:

Program at the Old Stone Church in Ringgold, GA. This was the site of the skirmish that started Sherman's March to Atlanta. It is located near the end of the Great Locomative Chase; is a museum of Civil War artifacts; is the church attended by early Self settlers in the area and an overall unique building. The program was presented by Mr. Tracy Wright, Catoosa County, GA teacher and historian.

Noon family meal at the Comfort Inn

Program by renowned genealogist, professor and author, Dr. Robert S. Davis on proving migration. He is a professor at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, AL.

A family photo session

Genealogy swap and share session

Instructional seminar on DNA as a tool in genealogical research by Kathi Bobb, a Self descendant and an experienced DNA researcher. (There will be another article later about this topic.)

Mr. Bob Self of California gave a short presentation on his and his nephew's latest findings on the possibility of where Robert Selfe, our "first Self" if you will lived before coming to Virginia. Bob's research reveals some interesting information on where he believes Robert Selfe actually came from to America. I will share more on this later, but I will say for now that it was London, England according to Bob's research.

Lastly, we had a family meeting to plot the future course of the Self, Selph family research and the preservation of our records.

It was a great event for we researchers. The next reunion will be in April, 2006 in Texas.

Friday, July 08, 2005


This is the time of year when families are getting together for a little potato salad, baked beans and fried chicken. The Self family is no different. The annual reunion for our branch of the Self family will be Saturday, September 17, 2005 at Camp Tipton Park in Maryville, Blount County, Tennessee. I have confirmed the date with cousin Ruth Self Bryant. She has the place reserved already. Make plans now to attend and invite everyone you see, well everyone who is related that is, to come also. Let's make this the best attended year yet. No one is certain exactly how many years we have been meeting, but it has been at least 20 and probably more. I can remember going 20 years ago. Anyway, remember to mark your calendars so you will not plan anything else for this date and please try to come. I look forward to seeing you there.

My Pride and Joy

Hello. I want to show everyone my pride and joy. This is my wife Svitlana and daughter Lydia. Svitlana and I have been married for 4 years. She is from Ukraine. Lydia was born November 30, 2003. She is something.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Please feel free to contribute something for this site

This is an invitation to anyone who might be interested in contributing any material to this site to do so. Please e-mail me and we will get it posted to the site. It could be family news such as births, weddings, deaths... anything of interest to the Self family. I will even take pictures. I am trying to get the word out that I have created this site so it will be visited by all relatives who have access to a computer. Hopefully it will become a popular place to exchange news.

Just A Thought to Pass On

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

Jane Howard

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Other surnames of Interest

I will list some other surnames that I research for anyone that might be interested in corresponding with me about them.

DEVINE- my mom's grandma was a Devine... my great grandmother
HOOD- too complicated to discuss here.
LEDBETTER- ask me about this one too !
McMAHAN-my grandfather Self was first married to a McMahan.
MILLSAPS-my grandmother Self's mother was a Millsaps before she married.
NICHOLS- great grandma Self was a Nichols and had a sister who married a Self also.
PLASTER- too complicated to share here. Ask me !
SPRADLIN-my mom was a Spradlin, so I'm half Spradlin .
SUTTON- my mom's mom was a Sutton.
TALLENT-my great-great-great grandmother on my mom's side was a Tallent.
TUCKER- Ask me!
VEAL- Ask me !
WATERS- my 3rd great grandmother Self was a Waters.
WISE- it's on my mom's side. Ask me !
WHITE- my grandmother Self was a White.
WHITMORE-my great great grandmother Self was a Whitmore.

Feel free to write and ask anything you want about these lines.

In Memory of Steven James Self, Jr.

I have a death in the family that I wish to report.

Steven James "Jay" Self, Jr. , of Sweetwater, Tennessee, passed away Friday, June 24, 2005. He was 26 years old. "Jay" was the son of Steven J. Self, Sr. and Dorothy Harwell Kenworthy. He was a grandson of James Bartley "Doc" Self and Mary Ellen Yates Self. "Doc" Self was the son of George W. Self, the grandson of Rev. C.C. Self and the great grandson of John J. Self. "Jay" was buried in the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in Vonore, TN.

How I got Hooked

My story is one of a funeral director who digs up his ancestors. Sounds like a tale from the Dark Side, huh? Actually I do not really go around digging up my dead relatives, but I do dig for information about them as well as those still living. I suppose one could say I am a "root digger". I constantly search for bits and pieces about my roots. Genealogy is my only hobby. It happens to be the most popular hobby in America right now. It cetainly is addictive. Once hooked, there is no hope for you. It will cause you to turn over every stone in search of long lost relatives. However, it does not interest everyone. I have met folks who couldn't care less who they are related to or from where they came. Others yearn to learn all they can about their ancestors and heritage. I do not push myself and my passion for genealogy on anyone. If I approach someone seeking genealogical information and they decline to help or show no interest in the subject, I move on and look elsewhere. I do feel however, that he alone deserves to be remembered who preserves the memory of those who came before him. I once read a quote that read something like this and I agree.

My interest in genealogy beagn in junior high school. My History teacher gave an assignment that included tracing our family tree back as far as possible. I was able to trace mine back through 6 direct generations of the Self Family line with the help of some elderly relatives. My first family tree was very simple, consisting of only a few names and dates on a couple of notebook sheets of paper. A few years later I discovered the sheets of paper in a bedroom closet and my interest in genealogy was again ignited. That has been nearly 20 years ago. Currently, my family tree contains over 3000 names and a few hundred pages of data on The Family Tree Maker software.

I have not been able to prove my 7th direct ancestor yet, who would be my 4th great grandfather Self. I am geting close. That is information for a future article. I can certainly claim that I know a lot more about the Self family today than I did in junior high school. Genealogy is a great, interesting hobby and allows one to meet some very colorful people along the way. I would encourage anyone to get involved and to encourage their children to take an interest in learning all they can about their family heritage. It is our duty to preserve and protect the memory of those who came before us. I am trying to do my part.

Barry Self, host for this site

Barry Self Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 03, 2005


This blog stuff is new to me. I am just getting this site started so if you are one of the first to visit, welcome. There is not much to see yet as you can tell. It is still under construction I guess you could say. In the near future there will be interesting stuff to read here... well it will be interesting if you are into genealogy, especially Self Family genealogy. Otherwise, it will probably be very boring. Come back again soon. I plan to have some great stuff posted here. Thanks for visiting. Later