Linda Barnickel

Linda Barnickel is a professional archivist and freelance writer. She is the author of the award-winning book, Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory (LSU Press, 2013) and has written on numerous historical, genealogical, and archives-related subjects. Learn more about her work at lindabarnickel.com.

Make Misspellings Work For You

Posted by Linda Barnickel on June 27, 2017 in Guest Bloggers

Often, beginning genealogists miss their ancestors by sticking too firmly to the idea that “that’s not how my family spelled their name, so it can’t be my ancestor.” This statement ignores these basic truths: 1) Ancestors who were illiterate would have no idea how to spell their own name, let alone how someone else should Read More

Strike it Rich with Freedman’s Bank Records

Posted by Linda Barnickel on February 24, 2017 in Collections, Guest Bloggers

By now, many researchers may be familiar with the massive collection of federal records produced by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (BRFAL), more commonly known as the “Freedmen’s Bureau.” But a frequently overlooked source, with a very similar name, holds a wealth of detail as well. Records from the Freedman’s Savings and Read More

Exploring Your DNA Results Further

Posted by Linda Barnickel on December 1, 2016 in AncestryDNA

This is a guest post by Linda Barnickel. Although I had my DNA tested with Ancestry over a year ago, I only recently discovered the wealth of information accessible through two unobtrusive links to be found on each individual match page. Predicted Relationships Choose one of your individual matches and go to that page. Click Read More

5 Hidden Questions in the U.S. Federal Census

Posted by Linda Barnickel on August 24, 2016 in Research

It doesn’t take long for even a beginning genealogist to recognize the value of federal population census schedules. Tracing a family or individual back through censuses, taken every ten years, makes building a family tree or pedigree relatively easy. But within these schedules, even experienced researchers may forget or overlook these “hidden” questions from certain census years. Read More

“Prologue” Magazine

Posted by Linda Barnickel on May 19, 2016 in Website

Guest post by Linda Barnickel Whether you are exploring National Archives records found on Ancestry, planning a research trip to our nation’s capital, or just want to know more about American history, Prologue, the quarterly publication from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is an outstanding resource. For decades, Prologue has guided researchers, authors, Read More

Attending a Conference “Virtually”

Posted by Linda Barnickel on April 29, 2016 in Events

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) annual conference  is just around the corner (May 4-7) in Fort Lauderdale, and if you aren’t able to attend in person, there are still ways you can learn from this outstanding gathering of genealogical speakers. Sign Up for Streaming Sessions Hurry! The deadline is May 3. NGS is live streaming Read More

5 Tips for Getting the Most from City Directories

Posted by Linda Barnickel on February 26, 2016 in Collections, Website

City directories are useful for the year-by-year portrait they can paint of our ancestors. They document their moves, changes in occupation, and may note the widowed status of a wife who has recently lost her husband. All of this information can be obtained by simply looking up an ancestor’s name. But consider the other types of information Read More

Archives Month: Celebrating and Capturing Oral History

Posted by Linda Barnickel on October 28, 2015 in Canada, Family History Month, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, United Kingdom, Website

Her voice is raspy, at times, nearly impossible to understand. At 105 years-old, Alice Mikel Duffield had seen her share of living. Though her hearing and eyesight was failing, her memories remained strong. She could tell me with pride about the new outfit she got when she left the service in 1918, when she had Read More

Archives Month: Anatomy of Finding Aid

Posted by Linda Barnickel on October 26, 2015 in Australia, Family History Month, Website

This is a guest post by Linda Barnickel What are Finding Aids? Finding aids are documents which are created by archives staff to assist researchers in learning about, navigating, and using individual archival collections. Many are available online from the institutions’ websites; others may be only available in hard-copy format for on-site use at the Read More

Archives Month: Searching by Context

Posted by Linda Barnickel on October 23, 2015 in Australia, Canada, Family History Month, Germany, Guest Bloggers, Mexico, United Kingdom

This is a guest post by Linda Barnickel. Hundreds of thousands of records and manuscripts in their original form are housed in archives throughout the country. Archives, as used in this post, refers to unique, unpublished records of government, organizations, businesses or other institutions. CONTEXT So, how do you go about identifying a collection of Read More