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, January 16, 2009


The billion-gallon coal fly ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant (a.k.a. the Kingston Steam Plant) in Roane County, TN, three days before Christmas, is affecting one Self Family. Dixie Self, widow of Arnold Self, and her son, Wesley Self, live near the fossil plant. I spoke to them by telephone on Thursday. They expressed that their properties are in a big mess right now. They are in the middle of the area that was hardest hit by the disaster. They live on Lakeshore Drive in Harriman. This is very close to Swan Pond Road, and Swan Pond Circle Road, north of Kingston, TN. It is on the Watts Bar Reservoir.

Wesley Self said “our cove is full of ash right now”. He said it was like heaven where they live before the spill and now it looks like a war zone or a construction zone. Everything is completely changed. Three homes were completely destroyed near where the Self’s live. Water was within 10 feet of Dixie’s house after the spill.

Dixie, who is 86 years old, said they cannot look outside without crying. “It was nice, comfy and homey. Now it’s all gone”, she said. “We had good neighbors. Now, it’s all gone.” She also said that they have to accept what happened and go on. “You have to have faith and go on.”

Wesley told me that they could not see the steam plant from their homes before the disaster happened. He said now, the plant is all they can see. Every tree is gone. The landscape is ruined. It was all washed away and destroyed by the ash spill and flooding.

The ash spill occurred December 22, 2008 when wet ash broke through the wall of a retention pond at the fossil plant. It covered hundreds of acres of privately owned land. The spill was brought on by several inches of rain in the region, just days before the spill. Coal fly ash contains various toxic chemicals including arsenic, mercury, beryllium, thallium and selenium. It is a by-product of burning coal to produce energy.

T.V.A. (Tennessee Valley Authority) and other agencies say tests show no signs of contamination above regulatory levels. Local residents are not so sure about that finding. The spill will cost millions of dollars to clean up. Several lawsuits have already been filed against T.V.A. over the spill.

For more information concerning the spill, visit the websites of the Knoxville News-Sentinel and T.V.A. at and