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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


This photo was taken at the Self Gathering in Plano, Texas in April. Pictured are (L to R) David Self, his father Wilson Self and brother Gerald Self. David Self was the one who presented the program on Westward emigration at the Self Gathering. He is also doing a lot of great research on the Self family at the present.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


GLENN JAY BIVENS, age 44, former resident of Tellico Plains, TN passed away in Florida, Thursday, May 18, 2006. Survivors: his 17 year old son, Jacob William Bivens, who resides in Portland, OR with his mother, Bonnie Stevens, mother Shirley Self Warren of Tellico Plains, father and step-mother Estil and Wanda Lee Bivens, Madisonville, sisters and brother-in-law Angelia Morton, Madisonville,
Kimberly and Richard Black, Vero Beach, FL, Shannon Bivens, Los Angeles, CA,
brother Brian Bivens, Phoenix, AZ, grandparents Dillard Self, Tellico Plains, Medye Hollingshead Bivens, Ball Play, uncles and aunts Don and Margaret Lee, Manning, SC, Wayne and Sandy Bivens, Ball Play, Tom and Joyce Bivens, Dalton, GA, Verda Sue Bivens Sneed, Knoxville, Bernice Bivens Odom, Cleveland, nieces and nephews Rachel Smith Holan, Raymond Bivens, Raina Terry, Taylor Black, Payton Black, preceded in death by grandmother Mamye Jo Self, grandfather Raymond Bivens. Memorial service will be 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 22, in Biereley-Hale Chapel, with Mr. Bivens’ childhood friend, Pastor Mickey Payne, officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at Biereley-Hale Funeral Home, Tellico Plains, TN.
(Glenn Jay Bivens was the great grandson of Fred and Mary White Self, great-great grandson of Jobe Smith Self and great-great-great grandson of John J. and Lydia A. Waters Self.)

Westward emigration, Texas and the Self Family

Cousin David Self, of Dumfries, VA, recently gave a lecture at the Self Family Gathering in Plano, Texas entitled ‘Westward emigration, Texas and the Self Family”. I call him Cousin David because the DNA testing he and I participated in a little over a year ago has helped determine that he and I have a common ancestor. David has done a lot of hard research and analysis of data on the Self Family and has pretty much determined how we are connected to Robert (Roboham) Self in England. If this information proves to be accurate, it will be major news among Self Family researchers. More will appear later on this site about David’s research and the independent research of a few others that have determined the same results.

This story will focus on David’s lecture in Texas. David was gracious enough to share some of his notes with me. I am sure the information shared here is only a minor portion of what David had to share at the reunion in Texas. I hope you enjoy what he shared as much as I did.

Here are a few notes from David’s lecture at the Self Gathering in Plano, Texas.

The Self family is the link to our past.

Many of our Self ancestors had emigrated from Virginia (1600’s) to North Carolina (1790’s), Georgia (1800’s), Alabama (1800’s) and Texas (1850).

Early emigration was North to South, then West.

The Selfs left Virginia for land in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.

The Selfs started moving into Texas during the 1850’s.

There was a flood of Texas emigrants after the Civil War.

Many settlers went west on waterways and by railroad.

The Selfs were Indian fighters in Texas.

In 1871, times were very rough. Indians, outlaws and wild animals troubled the settlers.

Early settlers came out of the Civil War.

East Texas became an extension of the deep South, settled by old stock Americans from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana. Central and northern Texas by contrast, were peopled mainly by upper southerners, especially Tennesseans, Missourians, and Arkansans. West Texas was apparently settled by largely by migrants from the eastern half of the state, but census materials are not adequate to permit a detailed analysis of population origins there.

The Indians would steal horses. One Self family had a dog that would bark at the Indians.

The Selfs and other settlers took part in a fight with seven Indians for stealing horses. All seven were killed.

Mr. N.B. Self of Lipan, Texas, a native of Hood County, TX was the source of the following information.

“The initials of Mr. Self’s father were D.S. Mr. Self’s uncle, Jackson Holt, with to other white men, William and John Clark, trailed and routed the Indians who had stolen a horse belonging to Mr. Self’s father as well as horses belonging to other settlers. The first fight was at Elm Crossing on the Brazos River. Some of the settlers who took part in the fight with seven Indians on Robertson Creek in which all the Indians were killed were: Mr. Self’s father, and his uncle S.M. Self, and Jackson Holt…”

“When it was necessary for these men to band together and ride after Indians, horseflesh was not considered. When one horse gave out, they got another one. They rode in a lope nearly all the time and carried their pistols almost all the time. They expected to have to fight the Indians most any time. The seven Indians killed were Comanches.”

“I can’t see,” said Mr. Self, “what inducement there was for the early settlers to come here. All risked their lives. I was so young then it did not bother me much, but I can’t see how it was that the Indians let me get by. I have stood in the door of our cabin and heard the Indians hollering so they could get together; Comanche Peak was the lookout place for them.”

“Mother and myself and my little brother, four years younger than I, stayed by ourselves many a night when father would be out on the cattle range. We lived in a little log house about sixteen feet square, with one door and no windows; there were small holes, one on each side. I have seen mother stand up at these holes nearly all night watching and expecting Indians. We had a watchdog, and the way the dog was barking would be the side mother would watch on. She was well armed with two pistols and a Sharp’s rifle, and she was a good shot. We had a fireplace in the house. When we were expecting an attack by the Indians we would cover the fire and blow out the lamp, and use little tallow candles for light. “

“This country was full of all kinds of wild animals. It was hard for us to tell the difference between a panther hollering and the Indians. We were always glad when we could hear panthers plain enough to tell it was not Indians.”

“We never opened the door until it was daylight enough for us to see all around the place, and see that there were not any Indians about. Mother was a brave woman. She seemed not to be afraid in the daylight.”

The Selfs were early pioneer families in Texas. Melchezedec Self settled northern Texas in the 1850’s.

There is a Selfs Texas today.

Comments about this information will be forwarded to David Self. Please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Our Ancestors depended on one for survival. Today, many people tend one as a hobby or mostly for pleasure. I am referring to vegetable gardens. Before the days of Super Wal-Mart Stores, Ingles and Kroger Supermarkets, folks in this country had to grow what they ate. There was no other choice. In the springtime one had to plant a garden. It had to be large enough to supply the family with fresh vegetables and also to yield enough to allow for canning or preserving some food for the winter months. Granted, there were some canning companies around in those days, but money was tight, so most families, especially those in the rural areas, grew their own food.

My grandmother Self grew up that way. Her mom canned everything she could get her hands on and so, Mamaw Self did the same when she got married. I can still remember her canning green beans, making sauerkraut form cabbage, canning tomatoes and making pickles. She would can more than a few jars too. She canned lots of jars. She also made homemade vegetable soup and canned it. She would “put up” corn either on the cob or after cutting it from the cob and placing it in freezer boxes. Those canned vegetables sure were tasty through the winter months. My own mother also canned a lot when I was growing up. We always had a big garden at home. She would can the garden vegetables and also make homemade jellies and jams too.

My wife, Svitlana, has a garden in our back yard. It is not a big one, but it does produce quite a lot of vegetables for us. Svitlana loves to work in her little garden. It gives her great pride to tend to her little plants. She is a successful gardener too. She knows how to get things to grow. Svitlana is a lot like my grandmother Self. She grew up in a rural area in Ukraine where gardens are a necessity to ones survival. Most families there even today have more than one garden. They grow practically everything they eat all year. They do not depend on large supermarkets to provide their basic food needs like we do in this country. They tend the land and it produces what they need for survival. The only items that have to be bought are those which cannot be grown on the farm. This is how it once was in this country.

Svitlana mostly tends a garden now as a hobby. It makes her happy to see things grow and it makes me happy to get to enjoy the fresh homegrown produce. Homegrown vegetables just taste better. Already, we have enjoyed lettuce, onions and radishes from our little garden. We are waiting on the first red, juicy, ripe tomato to be ready to eat. MMM-MMM.

Modern conveniences are nice. I am glad we have the grocery stores. However, all the thanks must go to the farmer, wherever he might be, for the food that lands on our tables. If it were not for the American farmers, there would be no food to put on the shelves at Wal-Mart, Ingles or Kroger.

Occasionally I will help my wife work in the garden or gather in the fruits of our labor. It makes me feel good to sit down at the table to eat, knowing I had a little part in putting the food there. I cannot help but think of my ancestors who once relied on a garden, probably a much bigger one than we have today, for their food. I pause to give thanks, as I am sure they would have done, and then I enjoy what God’s green earth has provided.

Friday, May 12, 2006

New Website Suggested to View

Let me invite you to check out this website. Since our ancestors once lived in Union County, Georgia, you might find it interesting. Go to

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I wanted everyone to see my new office. I just signed the lease. I will not be moving in for a few weeks. The place is being redecorated. It is located about two miles north of town. How do you like it?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


The Self 2006 Reunion was held in Plano, Texas on April 20-23, 2006. It was the 9th annual Self/Selfe/ Selph Reunion. I was not able to attend but I heard it was really great. The reunion was held at the Holiday Inn Plano East in Plano, Texas. This year Daniel McCarthy was honored and remembered again. He was the founder of the Self Family Newsletter. Mr. McCarthy is now deceased. Speakers for the reunion were Cheryl Smith, from the Gladys Harrington Library Genealogy Collection, David Self of VA, who presented a lecture on Self westward emigration, Corey Reynolds of South Carolina and Bob Self of California, who spoke on research he and his nephew have been uncovering in England. David Self has e-mailed me some slides of the information he presented and I will try to get some of it uploaded to this site for all of you to enjoy as soon as I can . I appreciate David's hard work and dedication to Self Family research.