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.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Saturday, October 05, 2013


These photos were taken at the 28th annual Self Family Reunion on Saturday, September 28, 2013. The reunion was held at Pearson Springs Park in Maryville, Tennessee. More photos will be added later.

Friday, October 04, 2013


"Ersie Cordelia Self was born in the fall of 1920. Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States. The first World War had just ended. And she was born in the home of William Emery and Mary Eveline Self. She grew up with four brothers and sisters and a special cousin, Lola. Ersie attended Mount Zion Baptist Church almost her entire life. There was one fellow that went there named Willard (Lee). He was friends with Ersie’s two brothers. One day when Willard was visiting, he was 12 years old and Ersie was nine, the Selfs were all sitting down at the breakfast. Lee patted Ersie on the head and said, “One day I’ll marry this one.” 17 years later at 29 years old, he did just that. They were married on December 21st, 1946. When Willard asked Grandpa Self for 26 year old Ersie’s hand Grandpa Self said, “Well, I guess she is old enough to do what she wants…you are just taking my good biscuit maker away from me.” In a total of 16 years, Ersie and Willard had 9 children, with 8 surviving childhood. Shirley, Peggy, Lovonda, Ronnie, infant son Randy Lee, Darlene, Randall, Reece, and Donny. On October 25, 1982, Ersie said goodbye to her husband. They had been married for 35 years and 308 days. She was a widow for over 31 years. Ersie’s heart always belonged to Willard. In fact, it was one of my favorite past times to tease Granny, and everyone in here knows what a great sense of humor she had. I teased her about every widower and elderly bachelor in Vonore. Her mind was made up. Her heart belonged to two men…Willard…and Jesus. Mamaw Ersie was a blood bought child of God. Not because she once said a prayer, although she did profess Jesus as her Savior; not because she attended a church, although she had years of perfect attendance at Mt. Zion; but you knew that Ersie was saved not by these things, but because she lived a life that was pure and acceptable unto Him. I John 3:4: We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Was there a person that has ever met Mamaw Ersie that was not loved by Mamaw Ersie? Mamaw was also the embodiment of the fruits of the Spirit, what are these? Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control. Mamaw was a lot of fun. She never ceased to surprise you. She was 89 years old when she decided that she wanted to fly on an airplane for the first time out to Nebraska to visit the Wilkersons--my sister and her family. So, I was in charge with finding out how to get Mamaw her very first picture ID. To get a picture ID, I needed a birth certificate, Mamaw had lost hers years ago. So, we had to get her a new one. I spent at least three weeks trying to find records of her and finally we got ahold of someone in Nashville, and they looked through their computers and said we don’t have anyone named Ersie Self ever having been born in Tennessee in 1920. Frustrated, mom and I went to Mamaw Ersie and said, “Mamaw, there is no record of an Ersie Self ever having been born!" She looked at us nonchalantly and said, “Well, probably because that is not my name.” My mother said, “What do you mean, mama!?” She said, “I was born Ersa, not Ersie. I bet they’ll find me now.” Sure enough, we easily found her under that name. Mom said, “Mom. Why has your legal name always been Ersie? It is on your Social Security card and everything.” Mamaw just said, “Well, when I was about 9, I just decided that I did not like the name Ersa and so I have been Ersie ever since.” I get to now tease my momma that she was in her 60s before she found out her mother’s name. So eventually, we got Ersie on that plane. She was always up for an adventure. Always up to go to Wal-Mart, to sit and visit with friends, to go to a Revival meeting. She never met a stranger. Mamaw Ersie lived on this Earth for 92 years, 361 days. She had 22 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren. She has been cared for non-stop by her daughters who for the past 2 years have cared for Mamaw Ersie hand and foot. Almost all of her sons were also there daily, especially Randall, who was a valuable help to the daughters. Ronnie, Reece, and Mamaw's nephew JL would also take turns pushing Mamaw around Vonore in her wheelchair. It was one of her favorite things to do. Thank you all for sacrificing for her in this way. God is well pleased with all of you honoring her. Right when she was starting to go downhill, she pulled many of us by her bedside and told us that she believed that God had given her a dream. She said she dreamt that she died and she looked up and saw Jesus walking with Willard and a small boy—their son, Randy Lee. They looked so happy. I believe that this was God giving her a promise. Through the pain that Mamaw endured in her later months, it is not worth comparing to the glory that is being revealed unto her now. There is no doubt in my mind that our little Mamaw is pain free. Reunited with her family-- her mother, father, Lawson, Bill, Bessie, Lucy, and Lola, and of course Willard and Randy. There is also no doubt in my mind, that our little Mamaw has touched the face of her Creator, the one who made her, redeemed her, and prepared a place for her." ### This eulogy was written for Ersie Self Cooper by Ersie's grandson, Kevin Fowler. The eulogy was read by Kevin at the funeral. It was also read at the 28th annual Self Family Reunion on September 28 at Pearson Springs Park in Maryville, TN by Rev. Tommy Self, Ersie's nephew. Go to the website to hear a song that was written and sung by Ersie's grandson, Micah Cooper, in honor of Ersie. Micah wrote the song the morning Ersie died and he sang it at her funeral. It is titled "Ersie's Song".