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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The annual Self Family Reunion will be held Saturday, September 19, 2009 in the fellowship hall of Friendship Baptist Church, 3310 Old Niles Ferry Road, Maryville, TN. This is where it was held last year. We will begin gathering around 2 p.m. and share a meal at 4 p.m. Many of you may have wondered if the reunion would be held this year since Ruth Bryant, who hosted the reunion for as long as I can remember, recently passed away. I was able to confirm today that it will indeed be held as usual. Please let me know if you need directions or more information.


My sister-in-law, Denise Self, is 40 years old today. She doesn't look a day over 41. (Ha! Ha!). I just had to welcome her to "the club". HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENISE!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Warren G. Plaster, 88, of Athens, TN, died Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009, at Etowah Health Care.
A native of Tellico Plains, and a resident of McMinn County for most of his life, he was a son of the late Thomas Carter and Francis Cardin Plaster. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Lucy Plaster, on Aug. 13, 1987; his second wife, Gearldona C. Randolph Plaster, on March 2, 2003; and one brother, Fred L. Plaster, on Dec. 4, 2000. He was retired from Athens Hosiery Mill and was a member of West End Baptist Church.
Survivors include four stepsons and two spouses, Willie Gene and Lillie Randolph of Cleveland, and James Lee Randolph, Harry Lee Randolph and Timothy Ray Randolph and his wife, Pat Randolph, who served as a special caregiver for Mr. Plaster, all of Athens; one stepdaughter, Sally Beatrice Gossett of Athens; and several step-grandchildren, great-grandchildren; and great-great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be 8 p.m. Tuesday in the chapel of Laycock-Hobbs Funeral Home. Graveside services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday in New Bethel Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Those not able to attend may send condolences at Laycock-Hobbs Funeral Home of Athens is in charge of arrangements.

(Mr. Plaster was related to Lillie Plaster Self, wife of J.R. Sherman Self. J.R. Sherman Self was a son of John J. Self and Lydia Avaline Waters Self.)

Friday, August 14, 2009


August 6, 2009 marked 30 years since the double murders of Bertha Louisa Self Ward and her youngest child, Betty Jo Ward Kennedy who was about 40 at the time she was killed. The murders took place four days before Bertha would have turned 71 or 72 years old. (Bertha was the daughter of Lewis Monroe and Cora Self). She was the widow of Joseph Ward. The murders shocked the Ward and Self families as well as the entire Fowler’s Mill community where these two women lived in Monroe County, Tennessee, near the Monroe County/ Loudon County line. The murders were committed at Bertha’s house on Corinth Road.

Bernice Ward Breeden, a daughter of Bertha Ward and sister to Betty Kennedy, spoke to me recently about the murders. She said the family had 22 deaths within two years following the murders. It was so stressful on the entire family. Bernice said it took her five years or more before she really got over the tragedy.

Harrison Lee Neeley (or Nealey), age 41, whom authorities described as a family friend, was convicted of the murders. He died in prison after serving several years for the crimes. Some believe Neeley (Nealey) was not actually guilty of these horrific crimes. He paid for the crimes, guilty or innocent. Edward Kennedy, husband of Betty Kennedy, was in the military at the time of the murders. He committed suicide in 1999. He and Betty did not have any children together. He re-married after Betty’s death and lived in Lenoir City, TN. There were no children born to this union either. Mr. Kennedy is buried in Loudon County Memorial Gardens, Lenoir City. He and Harrison Lee Neeley were related. Mr. Neeley (Nealey) had reportedly been living at the Ward residence for about a year before the double murders occurred. Mrs. Ward’s husband had died and Harrison Lee Neeley (Nealey) was living there to help Mrs. Ward with the chores.

Bertha Ward had six children with Joseph Ward; two girls and four boys. The children are Charlie Louis Ward, Bernice Ward Breeden, Gid Harley Ward, Clifford Winfred Ward, Larry and Garry Ward (twins), and Betty Jo Ward Kennedy. She had a son, Jessie, from a previous marriage to Jack Clark. Jessie took the Ward last name after his mom married Joseph Ward.

Betty Jo Ward Kennedy had three sons from her first marriage to Robert Ervin. Her sons are Bobby Joe, Howard and Monte Bremen Ervin.
Bertha Ward and Betty Kennedy are buried at the Corinth Baptist Church Cemetery in Loudon County, TN.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


This was sent to me by a friend. I liked it and I thought all of you might like it as well.

THINGS YOU DON'T HEAR ANYMORE.....Be sure to refill the ice trays, we're going to have company.Watch for the postman, I want to get this letter to Willie in the mail today.Quit slamming the screen door when you go out!Be sure and pull the windows down when you leave, it looks like a shower is coming up. Don't forget to wind the clock before you go to bed. Wash your feet before you go to bed, you've been playing outside all day barefooted.Why can't you remember to roll up your britches legs? Getting them caught in the bicycle chain so many times is tearing them up.You have torn the knees out of that pair of pants so many times there is nothingleft to put a patch on. Don't you go outside with your school clothes on! Go comb your hair; it looks like the rats have nested in it all night.Be sure and pour the cream off the top of the milk when you open the new bottle.Take that empty bottle to the store with you so you won't have to pay a deposit onanother one. Put a dish towel over the cake so the flies won't get on it. Quit jumping on the floor! I have a cake in the oven and you are going to make itfall if you don't quit!Let me know when the Fuller Brush man comes by, I need to get a few things from him.You boys stay close by, the car may not start and I will need you to help push it off. There's a dollar in my purse, get 5 gallons of gas when you go to town. Open the back door and see if we can get a breeze through here, it is getting hot.You can walk to the store; it won't hurt you to get some exercise.Don't sit too close to the TV. It is hard on your eyes.If you pull that stunt again, I am going to wear you out! (This is like...."I'mgonna give it to you hard".)Don't lose that button; I'll sew it back on after awhile.Wash under your neck before you come to the table, you have beads of dirt and sweatall under there. Get out from under the sewing machine; pumping it messes up the thread!Be sure and fill the lamps this morning so we don't have to do that tonight in thedark.Here, take this old magazine to the toilet with you when you go, we are almost outof paper out there.Go out to the well and draw a bucket of water so I can wash dishes. Don't turn the radio on now, I want the battery to be up when the Grand Ole Oprycomes on.No! I don't have 10 cents for you to go to the show. Do you think money grows ontrees? Eat those turnips, they'll make you big and strong like your daddy.That dog is NOT coming in this house! I don't care how cold it is out there, dogsdon't stay in the house.Sit still! I'm trying to get your hair cut straight and you keep moving and it isall messed up.Hush your mouth! I don't want to hear words like that! I'll wash your mouth out withsoap!It is time for your system to be cleaned out. I am going to give you a dose ofcastor oil tonight. If you get a spanking in school and I find out about it, you'll get another one whenyou get home.Quit crossing your eyes! They will get stuck that way!Soak your foot in this pan of kerosene so that bad cut won't get infected.When you take your driving test, don't forget to signal each turn. Left arm straight out the window for a left turn; left arm bent up at the elbow for a right turn; and straight down to the side of the door when you are going to stop.It's: 'Yes Ma'am!' and 'No Ma'am!' to me, young man, and don't you forget it! Bring back any Memories?