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.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Svitlana Self, became a citizen of the United States of America on Thursday, October 23. The Naturalization Ceremony was held at the United States District Courthouse, Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Honorable Curtis L. Collier, Chief U.S. District Judge, presided. The Oath of Allegiance was administered by Cyndee Palmer, Deputy Clerk of the Court. 50 citizens took the oath, representing 31 foreign countries. The ceremony was held at 10:30 a.m. and lasted approximately 45 minutes.

I want to share two pictures that were made at the ceremony. The first one is of Svitlana, posing with Judge Collier, after he presented her the certificate of citizenship. Mrs. Williams is seen in the background to the left. She is an officer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Mrs. Williams interviewed Svitlana in Memphis, Tennessee on August 14 and was pretty much the one who helped finalize her paperwork for citizenship. (She told us then that her citizenship was granted.) We were pleased to see her in Chattanooga. It made it all the more special for Svitlana. The second picture is of all our little family with Judge Collier. And I do mean all of us. Lydia would not go to the courthouse without her pink teddy. (Notice the red socks “Teddy” is wearing.) Judge Collier noticed Lydia, “Teddy” and I on the front row. He asked to have a picture made with Lydia and her momma. Pretty much everyone in the courtroom went “oooh and aahh” when the picture was made. It was funny. In the background of the picture of all the family with Judge Collier is Cyndee Palmer. She administered the oath.

It was a wonderful ceremony. I wish everyone could experience a naturalization ceremony at least once. It really makes you proud to be an American. I will never forget that experience.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Kenneth Clerence Grigg, age 68, of Alcoa, Tennessee, went home to be with his Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, early Tuesday morning, October 21, 2008. Ken was born June 9, 1940 in Knox County to the late Paul and Louise (Watkins) Grigg. He attended Fulton High School before joining the United States Navy and serving with Patrol Squadron One at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. Before his retirement, Ken owned Creative Plastering and worked throughout the Southeast on numerous construction projects; as his late brother, Bo, jokingly referred to him as the "World’s Great Surfologist." Ken was an avid sports fan, especially enjoying both football and baseball; but most importantly though, he was a member of and attended High Praises Church. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Paul and Martha Louise (Watkins) Grigg; sister, Dorothy Jean "Dot" Denton and her husband, John; brothers, Ernest Edward "Bo" Grigg, Bobby Lowell "Bob" Grigg, Herbert Eugene "Gene" Grigg, and two infant brothers. Ken is survived by his wife, Carolyn Taylor Grigg; children, Cevin Brown and wife, Susan; Courtney Fitzsimmons and husband, Tim; Cydney Waltermyer and husband, Rick; Chesney Thomas and husband, David; and Capt. (Ret.) Craig Taylor Brown, United States Army; grandchildren, Danielle Walker and husband, David; Chelsea Harris and husband, Johnathan; Samuel Waltermyer; and Jordan and Dakota Fitzsimmons; great-grandchildren, Austin and Chesney Harris; and David Paul and Alexis Walker; sister, Mary Lewis and husband John; nieces and nephews, Diana Selvage, and husband, Bo; Petie Denton and wife, Mae; Mary Lou Green and husband, Ronnie; Patty Loveless and husband, John; Jeff Grigg and wife, Lisa; Jay Wall and wife, Jill; Bobby Grigg; and Christie Humphrey and husband, Johnny; sister’s-in-law, Wanda Grigg, Pat Grigg, and Wilma Grigg; and numerous great-nieces and nephews, extended family, and friends.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, October 23, 2008 from 5-7 p.m. at High Praises Church, 1601 East Broadway, Maryville. Funeral to follow at 7 p.m. in the Church Sanctuary, with Pastor Jackie Midkiff and Rev. Glen "Bo" Selvage officiating. Interment Friday, 11 a.m. at Grandview Cemetery, Maryville. The family requests no flowers, and suggests contributing to the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission in the memory of Ken.
Memorial Funeral Home, Maryville in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be emailed to

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This is Mildred Miller Thomas, age 83 and Lydia Self, age 4 of Madisonville, TN. Mildred is the daughter of Oliver and Mary Lydia Hartness Miller. Mary Hartness Miller was the daughter of William Hartness and Sarah Louisa Self Hartness. Sarah was the daughter of John J. and Lydia A. Waters Self. Lydia Self is my daughter. She and her mother, Svitlana, visit with Mildred as often as they can.
Mildred Miller Thomas is a storyteller, author and an artist. She and her husband, Tommy Thomas, live in a century old home on Hwy. 68, near Madisonville, Tennessee. Many of you will recall reading Mildred's work on this blog. She wrote "Mountain Memories" and the entire collection of those stories is published on this blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This is Heather Everhart Bean, Nicole Cole and her sister, Karri Whitehead. Heather, on right, is expecting a baby this November.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Did anyone happen to see the magazine American Profile this past Sunday? There was an article in the Hometown Spotlight section about Dahlonega, Georgia and its Gold Rush Days, which is scheduled for October 18-19. Dahlonega is in Lumpkin County and our Self ancestors once lived there, before coming to Tennessee. Dahlonega is a neat place to visit. I have been there several times. Go to for a link to Dahlonega's website to check out the details about the Gold Rush Days.


This is Harold McLemore and his grandson, Nick. They kindly agreed to have their picture taken together at the reunion.


This is Avis Self Severt and her sister-in-law, Clarice Self, wife of Benny Self. They attended the reunion on September 20 in Maryville, TN all the way from Robbinsville, NC.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


The picture above shows Lydia Self standing on a spring house near the former home site of Roley and Vietta Self. This small, concrete building was under water for 50 years. The recent draw down of Chilhowee Lake revealed this structure among other things.

The recent drawdown of Chilhowee Lake in rural Blount County, Tennessee revealed many old home sites along the Little Tennessee River. One of those home sites was that of Roley and Vietta Self. The Self home site is located near Tabcat Creek a few miles above Chilhowee Dam, along Hwy. 129 (Calderwood Hwy.). The reservoir was drained to repair the dam. The dam is located between river mile 33 and 34 on the Little T. The drawdown began September 2. The dam is located in Blount and Monroe Counties. The dam supplies electric power to the aluminum smelting and rolling mill at Aluminum Company of America’s (ALCOA) Tennessee operations. The Chilhowee reservoir covers approximately 1734 acres when full.

My wife, Svitlana, our daughter, Lydia and I drove up to look at the lake this past Saturday. It was exciting to see the hundreds of acres of dry land that had been under water for the past 50 years. I enjoyed walking along the bank of the Little Tennessee River, where no one had walked since the reservoir was impounded in 1957.

Many others were walking the lakebed too, in search of artifacts. I saw one little girl and her grandfather picking up fragments of dishes, pottery and such. A few people were finding rusty horseshoes. One man found what appeared to be a small mattock. Rusty nails were lying everywhere, all signs that someone had once lived there. I found a 1910 Liberty head dime in the sand and wondered who had last held the coin. We had to choose our path carefully because there was mud everywhere. I came away from the walk along the riverbed a little sad.

I thought about Roley and Vietta Self and the others who had given up their river view farms in the name of progress. Only the concrete well pump house is still standing where the Self’s lived. There are portions of the fence posts still standing in a row across the old roadbed, indicating where a fence once divided a field. I thought about how the lush, green fields must have looked before the flood came. There would have been fields of corn, tobacco and grain, the yield of rich, fertile soil. The most desirable property around was covered by water. This place is where children who are now grandparents spent many carefree days. I can imagine a man walking behind a mule, holding a plow. I imagine cattle grazing in another field. All are now forever gone. Even the soil is now gone. All that remains are the rocks and some sand.

It was nice to see this place. It does not look now like it once did, but I can imagine how beautiful it must have been. An opportunity like this will probably never be afforded again in my lifetime. To walk where water 35 feet deep usually stands. It is not everyday thousands of acres of lake water are drained to repair a weak place in a dam. It will always be a special place, for it is where kinfolks once lived and where many happy memories were made. This past Saturday, I made some of my own memories there too.

Roley and Vietta Self are buried at the Chilhowee Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in the Happy Valley Community. This is about 6 miles from where they once lived along the Little Tennessee River at Tabcat Creek.