About Me

Dr. Sophie Kay, D.Phil, is a professional genealogist and research scientist based at Khronicle, with over 17 years’ experience in family history research across the British Isles. She is also an AGRA Associate and is registered with the RQG. Her specialisms include the use of historical mapping techniques in genealogical research, genetic genealogy, death records and historical occupations, and she’s also the creator of the #OccupationOfTheDay hashtag on Twitter, which showcases a range of jobs from bygone times.

Sophie is an experienced educator and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She teaches historical mapping techniques for family history research at Pharos Tutors and also delivers a programme of speaker talks throughout the year to a range of conferences and family history societies around the world.

Highlights include:

  • Keynote Speaker for THE Genealogy Show;
  • Invited seminars for the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies‘ Diamond Anniversary talk programmes;
  • Speaker at RootsTech 2022, the biggest global conference for all things family history.

Sophie was also Director of the global award-winning Open Science Training Initiative from 2012 to 2019, established during her time as one of the inaugural Panton Fellows with the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Originally from a background in mathematics and interdisciplinary cancer research, Sophie holds a doctorate in Systems Biology from the University of Oxford, where she also taught mathematics, statistics and computational bioscience from 2008 to 2014.

Sophie champions progress in disability access within the genealogy and historical research communities and served on the panel for the User Advisory Group of The National Archives (Kew, U.K.) from 2018-2022.

She is also on the management team of Twitter’s #AncestryHour, the weekly space for family history conversations, which takes place at 7pm (UK time) every Tuesday.

You can follow Sophie on Twitter as @ScientistSoph.

A dictionary showing the definition of research

Need to get in touch?

Please direct email queries about The Parchment Rustler, including offers of review materials for publication titles and public exhibitions, to sophie[at]parchmentrustler.com

Professional queries, requests for research quotations and offers of work should be sent to sophie[at]khronicle.co.uk

All opinions and content presented on Sophie’s blog “The Parchment Rustler” are personal, and should not be assumed to represent these organisations in any way, unless otherwise stated.

6 thoughts on “About Me

    1. Hi Joe, great to hear from you. Happy to discuss reviewing one of your titles – Genealogical’s historic topographical dictionaries or genealogical gazetteers for England would be of particular interest. I’ll be in touch in the coming days!

  1. Your blog on maps was of great interest.
    I remember as a child sitting in the front passenger seat with a map telling my mother what turn, town, interesting site, etc., was coming up (pre-super highways of course). My local paper leaves maps out of articles when a map would explain what many words do not. Or they have a map with the subject located incorrectly. I received a 95 on map reading in the U.S. Army.
    In short, I love maps as you do. Your top tips will take me back into family history to look at where families were on the maps. I have a map on my wall showing where members of my family of interest live now. It is my generation that has moved across the United States in 90% of the families and even now the concentrations around Boston and New York is very large.

    1. Delighted to hear that my “Maps & Genealogy” piece struck a chord. For me, nothing can replace the wonder of physical maps: digital versions can be incredibly useful but the experience of identifying the physical features of the landscape on a hard-copy map and translating that into an ease of navgiation around a locale is really beautiful. Your wall map sounds like a great idea – thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Barbara and thanks for visiting. The blog is very much alive and I have a lot of new articles in the pipeline – the main challenge over the past year has been finding time for blogging during an exceptionally busy spell professionally! Expect some more content in the coming months on Negative Space, automation bias in family history research, and genetic genealogy too…

      All the best,


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