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.

Sunday, April 29, 2007



The oldest living direct descendant of John J. Self and Lydia Avaline Waters Self, has died. Van Lowry Self died Saturday, April 28, 2007 at Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo, MS, near his home in Pontotoc, Mississippi. He was 96 years old. Van Lowry was born February 7, 1911 in Mt. Vernon, Tennessee to J.R. Sherman Self and Lillie Plaster Self. He celebrated his birthday each year on April 10 for some unknown reason. He had 6 siblings; one sister and 5 brothers. All of them are deceased.

Van Self was the oldest known direct descendant of John J. Self at the time of his death. He was quite possibly the oldest Self in America, but this has not been determined for certain.

Van spent most of his life in Illinois and Wisconsin where, as a young man, he moved in order to find employment. His childhood years were spent living in the mountains of Tellico Plains, TN. Around 1937 Van hopped a train in Monroe County, TN and went to Waukegan, IL to look for a job. He found good jobs there and stayed until 1973 when he and his wife, Louise, retired and moved back to her hometown of Pontotoc, MS to be near her aging parents. Louise passed away in 1993.

Van had a wonderful memory almost to the end of his life. He was very knowledgeable about our Self Family history. I will always treasure the stories he told me of playing and working around the Hoffard Mansion along the banks of the Tellico River. Van trimmed the hedges and did yard work at the mansion. He also had the task of catching minnows and crawfish for Col. C.F. Hoffard, who was from England, to use when he had visitors coming from Knoxville to fish. Col. Hoffard would pay Van 50 cents a day to work for him. Van still laughed every time he recalled how Col. Hoffard acted. Mrs. Hoffard would go into Tellico Plains to play Bridge with the ladies. She would leave Col. Hoffard a list of chores to do. When she would return in the afternoon, Col. Hoffard would run to her and say “Oh Sadie, come see what C.F. has done while you were gone.” He tried to make his wife think he had done the yard work when it was actually Van who did it. Van also recalled raising game roosters for Dr. Rodgers in Tellico Plains.

Van once told me he probably grew up as poor as any human ever did. He said he did not have anything until he was about 30 years old. He stated that he had given away a lot of the money he earned over the years to anyone he saw in need. He once swore if he ever did have anything he would give to those he saw in need. He said he never hurt by giving to someone in need.

In March 2006 Van suffered a broken leg as a result of a fall in his home. After the accident he moved into the Church Street Health Care Center in Ecru, MS. It was there that I spoke to him for the last time by telephone on April 10 of this year. I called to wish him a happy birthday. He invited me to come see him and I promised to try to make it down there sometime this spring. Little did I know this would be the last time I would get to talk to Van. I certainly will miss him. I am grateful to have known him.

A son, Dale Self, of Marion, IL and three grandchildren, survives Van.

The family will receive friends 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday, April 30, 2007 at Baldwin, Nowell & Clark Funeral Home, Pontotoc. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be at the Pontotoc Memorial Gardens following the service.


Mary Ruth Anderson, age 86, of Athens, TN went home to be with the Lord after a long-awaited time early Wednesday morning, April 25, 2007 at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Betty and Beecher Tallent. A native of Monroe County and a resident of McMinn County for most of her life, she was a daughter of the late James Thomas and Mary. L. Self Smith. She was retired from Athens Hosiery Mill and was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Riceville, TN. She was preceded in death by one granddaughter, Brandi Standridge and several brothers and sisters. Survivors include three daughters and sons-in-law Betty and Beecher Tallent and Carolyn and Glen Standridge, all of Athens TN and Sandy and Duane Wyrick of Knoxville, TN; one son and daughter-in-law James and Marie Anderson of Johnson City, TN; grandchildren and spouses Houston and Lisa Anderson, Michael Anderson, Brad and Sandy Anderson, April and Brian Hamby, J.T. Tallent, Scott and Susan Standridge, Travis and Danielle Standridge, Candi and Michael Dunn, Marla and John Carson and Dustin Wyrick; several great-grandchildren and one sister, Anna Johnson of Niota, TN. Funeral services will be 8:00 p.m. Friday, April 27, 2007 in the South Chapel of Bordwine Funeral Home, Etowah, TN with Rev. Roy Hogan, Rev. Dennis Leamon, Rev. Keith Wilcox and Rev. Scott Standridge officiating and will conclude with the Celebration of Life video. Family and friends will assemble at the funeral home at 10 a.m. Saturday and proceed to Hill Top Cemetery for the 11 a.m. burial, which will conclude with the White Dove Liberation Ceremony. Pallbearers will be Houston Anderson, Michael Anderson, Brad Anderson, Travis Standridge, J.T. Tallent and Dustin Wyrick. Honorary pallbearers will be Brian Hamby, Michael Dunn and John Carson. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Friday at Bordwine Funeral Home, Etowah. If you are unable to attend this visitation or service, you may sign the guest registry at

Note: This post was not uploaded in a timely manner due to a technical problem. I apologize.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Cousin John Henegar has notified me of the death of Ruth Smith Anderson of Athens, TN. She passed away earlier this morning. Ruth was 86 years old. She was born March 16, 1921, the daughter of James Thomas Smith and Mary Louisa Self Smith. Ruth was a wonderful person. I will miss her. (See the story posted to this site on March 22, 2006 "Cousin Ruth Smith Anderson Celebrates Birthday".) Funeral arrangements are pending.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Wayne and Diane Self Haynes of Madisonville, TN announce the birth of their daughter, Hannah Grace, born February 14, 2007 at Sweetwater Hospital, Sweetwater, TN. She weighed 6 pounds 1/4 ounce. Siblings are Brody and Braden Haynes. Grandparents are Laura Self and the late Curley Self, Lois Haynes and the late Willard Haynes. Congratulations to Wayne and Diane.