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.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


This is a picture of Glenn Self and his brothers, Walter and Ray Self. I do not know for certain in which order they are seated in this photo. I believe Glenn is on the far right. They were sons of Floyd and Zela Mabel Bryson Self. The photo is compliments of Mrs. Louise Self, widow of Glenn Self.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The back of this picture has the name Floyd Self written on it. I do not recall where I got it. People have given me hundreds of pictures over the years. I should have kept better records on where I acquired all of them. I assume it is a picture of Floyd Self, son of Samuel Lamarcus "Mark" Self. Refer to the story recently posted to this site " Information sought for years is discovered...just down the road".

Monday, February 16, 2009


Colby Tyler Self turned 6 years old on February 15. He is the son of Stephen and Denise Self of Madisonville, TN. Colby celebrated his birthday with family and friends. A Kung Fu Panda birthday party was held in his honor at Eagle Karate Family Center in Madisonville on Friday, February 13 where Colby was designated “black belt for a day”. He is currently enrolled in a karate class at Eagle Karate Family Center and is in Kindergarten at Vonore Elementary School. Colby is shown in the photo above dressed in his karate uniform and temporary black belt. His sister, Scarlett Self, will turn 9 years old on February 26.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


I have been researching the Self family tree for over twenty years. More than once I have run into the proverbial brick wall or dead end concerning certain branches of the family tree. This can happen for various reasons. A lot of times, a genealogist reaches this frustrating point simply because everyone who would have known something about the particular line has died or the so-called paper trial ends. There can also be other reasons. Sometimes it is due to the fact that the obvious is overlooked and when this happens, one can miss a great deal of information. If you have ever researched a family tree and reached a point where you cannot go any further, you know how frustrating it can be. It can also be challenging.

On July 29, 2008, I met Bobbie Davis through my work. Bobbie is a nurse and I met her in Vonore at… well, let’s just say it was on a professional level. She found out I am a Self and she told me she was also a Self before she married. We got to talking and I learned that she was s sister to David Self from Etowah, TN. I told her I knew David from my high school days when I worked at Hardee’s Restaurant. David is a district manager for Franco, Inc., which owns a chain of Hardee’s Restaurants. I told Bobbie that David and I had never been able to determine if we were related. She started naming some of her relatives and I quickly realized she descends from a Self line I reached a dead end on several years ago. I got really excited when Bobbie told me her 80+ year old mother was still living in Etowah. It took several months, but I was finally able to visit with Bobbie and her mother on February 5, 2009 and I learned a great deal about this particular Self family.

Bobbie’s mother is Louise Bain Self, age 82, widow of Glenn Wilburn Self. Glenn was a son to Floyd Self and Zela Mabel Bryson Self. Come to find out, I had her name as Celia Bryson by mistake. Floyd Self was a son to Samuel Lamarcus Ishma Self. He was called Mark Self. Mark Self was the ninth child of John Jones Self and Lydia Avaline Waters Self. This makes Floyd Self and I 1st cousins 3 times removed. I could not believe that it took me twenty plus years to learn about this branch of the Self family and the answers were right under my nose…only about 8 miles down the road in Etowah, Tennessee.

Miss Louise and Bobbie were very helpful to me. Louise told me lots of information about Glenn’s family. I was able to fill in a lot of blanks on the family tree and get some great leads on where to find even more information. Glenn Self passed away in 1985. His parents had five other children. Louise is not for certain, but one of those children may still be living in Texas. She is Ruby Self Hassertt.

The pictures above are one of Louise Self and her daughter, Bobbie Davis and one of Louise Self and her husband, the late Glenn Self.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


This is a copy of the only known picture of my grandfather, Charles Lawson Self, and his first wife, Sarah and their children , Gertrude and Charles Luther Self. Sarah died after giving birth to twins. The twins also died. Papaw Lawson later married Geneva Louise White, my grandmother. (See related information in the previous post.)


71 year old Gertrude Sewell is a Monroe County, Tennessee native, but McMinn County, Tennessee is her home. She was born Gertrude Self on November 21, 1937 in Vonore, Tennessee, daughter of Charles Lawson and Sarah McMahan Self. Her mother died on May 7, 1943 following the birth of twins. Gertrude had an older brother, Charles Luther. Their father remarried in May, 1944 to Geneva White and they together had two sons. Gertrude moved to McMinn County to live with her aunt, Lucy Self Hill, and her husband, Howard, when she was 16 years old. Lucy and Howard Hill had just built a new house in the Hillsview Community of McMinn County and they had one son, Duane. Howard and his father built the house. They finished it in the summer of 1954. The date scribbled in the concrete of the front porch, near the front door, reads July 28, 1954. Gertrude moved in with them in October, 1954. She recalls that they had not lived in the new house very long when she went to live with them.

Gertrude met her future husband, Herman Sewell, while living with the Hill family. Herman lived less than 5 miles away and after a courtship, they were married on September 15, 1956 in the living room of Howard and Lucy’s home. Gertrude was 19 at the time. Rev. Robert Maxwell, from Madisonville, was holding a revival at the Mt. Harmony Baptist Church, which was not far from where Gertrude lived. He came to the house and married the couple in the living room.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited my aunt Gertrude and we went to see the home of aunt Lucy and Gertrude got to reminiscing about the time she lived with aunt Lucy and Howard. (Lucy passed away on July 7, 2003. Gertrude’s son, Ricky, bought Lucy’s house after her death. The house is currently vacant.)

The afternoon we dropped by the house to look around was both pleasant and sad for me. I was happy to walk around the yard and think about the visits I had there with my parents when I was growing up. I was also sad, because the warm welcome we would always receive from aunt Lucy and uncle Howard was missing. They are both deceased and only their memories remain.

Gertrude showed me where she and Herman stood in the living room when they got married. They were married for over 44 years when Herman passed away in May, 2001.

I convinced Gertrude to pose for a picture for me, standing in the living room, almost in the exact spot, where she was standing when she got married. The picture did not turn out too clear, however. I also took a picture of the house from the outside. It looks a little different now than I remember it as a child. Cousin Ricky has done some remodeling to it since he acquired it, but it still holds a very special place in Gertrude’s heart and mine too.

The pictures shown above are one of Gertrude and Herman Sewell in the front yard at aunt Lucy's just after they were married and of aunt Lucy's house from the front yard as it looks today. The "wedding picture" may not be too clear. I scanned it from a photocopy my uncle C.L. Self gave me several years ago.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Cousin Craig Brown called me this weekend and shared that he recently launched a new website devoted to related families from Blount County, Tennessee. The website is I recommend that anyone related to the Self family check it out. I have already looked at it and I am pleased to recommend it to our Self cousins. The site primarily focuses on the Brown, Taylor, Hancock and Newberry families. I will try to get a link to this new website posted to my blog as soon as possible, but I wanted to get the news out quickly. Be sure to see this site at your earliest convenience.