What’s been happening lately here at The Parchment Rustler? Check out the items below and find out…
Guest appearance in Peter Calver’s Lost Cousins newsletter
This month I’ve had the pleasure of appearing as a guest writer in Peter Calver’s popular Lost Cousins newsletter, which provides a regular roundup of new events, techniques and developments in the world of family history research. You can read my article about Negative Space methods for genealogy over on Peter’s newsletter now. Many thanks to Peter for his kind invitation to write for his publication!
HOW should we go about family history research?
After many months of planning this one, I can finally announce my shiny new course for Pharos Tutors!
Critical Thinking Approaches for Genealogy is a four-week course which will have you getting hands-on with all manner of research techniques. We’ll start from the very beginning of the research process and see how to form research questions and plan our research, before examining critical approaches to searching, and extended attention to how we analyse and judge the historical record.
The core of this course is all about how to engage your critical brain to think like a historian, and the four weeks cover the following themes:
- Scaffolding: Skills for initiating and planning your family history.
- Building Blocks: Logical approaches to effective searching and research progression.
- Mortar: Engaging critical thinking methods for problem solving and brick walls.
- Vantage Point: Perspectives and techniques to ensure continued onward development of your research skills
The second half of the course dives into technical approaches to support good critical thinking, including the Negative Space method for addressing research gaps; the timebinding method for reconciling the various stages of an ancestor’s life; and the topping-and-tailing method for researching migratory ancestors.
Read more about the course over on the Pharos website, and book your place today – either for the June 2023 run, or the later iteration which starts at the end of November 2023. I’ll look forward to seeing you then!
Let’s talk historical occupations…
Last month I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Emma Cox, the professional genealogist behind the Journeys into Genealogy podcast. We spent an hour discussing a variety of aspects of historical occupations and their role in family history research, covering subjects as diverse as sailmaking and flax production in Newcastle, the medical curse of phossy jaw suffered by Victorian match factory workers, and how core records such as marriage certificates and census returns can reveal the social links between workers in a local community.
You can listen to my podcast episode (and others besides!) over on the Journeys to Genealogy site, or head to your favourite podcast app such as Apple Podcasts or Amazon Music.
Emma has also put together a blogpost from the episode to direct you to the resources I’ve mentioned during our conversation. I hope you find these useful – there are some wonderful resources here which will give you hours of fascination, as well as useful leads for your family history research!
A shout-out to the Lost Cousins newsletter
A big thank you to Peter Calver of the popular genealogy newsletter Lost Cousins, for kindly including my upcoming talk on Negative Space in his listings last week. It’s a real pleasure to be featured there alongside some fantastic content and events from my fellow family history researchers.
If you’d like to sign up for the Peter’s newsletter and receive regular updates on new events and articles from the world of genealogy, then head to the Lost Cousins site and fill in your details on his registration page.
Would YOU like to transform your family history with mapping techniques?
It was a real pleasure to launch my new course for Pharos Tutors in November 2022 – Mapping Strategies for Family Historians. This four-week course introduces you to three of my own practical mapping methods which will transform the way you approach your family history research, and even help you break down long-standing brick walls.
I love teaching these methods and my first cohort of researchers really enjoyed our live sessions – here’s what they had to say about the course:
“One of the best – if not the best – Pharos courses I’ve taken…”
“This will change the way I do my studies…”
“Sophie is an excellent teacher.”
The first two iterations of the course sold out in just under 48 hours of going on sale, so be sure to book your place now for September 2023 whilst places are still available!
We’re celebrating our move to new webhosts…
Thanks for your patience if you tried to get in touch in recent weeks. Unfortunately our (now former) webhosts experienced some major server issues which left The Parchment Rustler, and my professional site over at Khronicle, experiencing serious downtime – and emails sent via those domains not reaching me at all.
I’ve now moved all operations to Siteground, who have been utterly wonderful from day one. With the transition to new hosts complete, my emails are now all back up and running. It’s been a stressful experience sorting all this out, but a relief to be with Siteground now. If you’ve emailed and not received a reply in recent weeks, then your message may not have reached me, so please try again and I’ll do my best to respond to you as soon as possible.
NEW TALK DATE: Negative Space is back!
Followers of The Parchment Rustler may already be familiar with my Negative Space concept for analysing the gaps in your family history research, and using them to your advantage. I’ve covered some of the key features of Negative Space methods in previous articles Negative Space: Making Your Genealogy Gaps Work For You and Mind the Gap.
This is one of my favourite subjects to share with an audience, so I’m delighted to announce that the Society of Genealogists has invited me to speak about Negative Space at 2pm on 21st January 2023.
Negative Space: How Genealogy Gaps Can Help Your Tree Flourish will be a one-hour event, delivered as a live digital talk followed by a Q&A session, so we’ll have ample opportunity to talk all about Negative Space and what it can do for your research.
Tickets cost £6.50 for SoG members, £10 for non-members, and can be purchased via the SoG online shop. Book now to avoid disappointment!
Autumn/Winter talk schedule revealed for 2022-3
It’s always nice to release a new schedule of upcoming talks. I’m looking forward to talking occupations, research bias, and research mistakes over the next few months, with additional sessions on Negative Space, DNA and accessibility in genealogy to be announced in the near future too. Some of the upcoming sessions are open to the public, whilst others are open to members of the specific host society.
I’ll update this News section over the coming weeks with further details of how to book for my public talks – so watch this space and I hope to see you in the audience soon!
My Pharos Maps course – now SOLD OUT
Thanks to all of you who have shown such interest in my new Mapping Strategies course over at Pharos. It’s a joy to be able to share this one with you at last!
Less than 48 hours on from sales opening, all places have now SOLD OUT for both the November 2022 and February 2023 dates for the course. Congratulations to those of you who managed to secure a spot.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get in this time though, don’t worry: a third round of the course is already in the pipeline. Head to the course page and click on “enquire about this course” to request to be added to the mailing list for announcements of new dates for this course – this will ensure you’re amongst the first to know when the next batch of tickets goes on sale. Good luck, and I hope to see you on one of my courses soon!
Love maps? Join my NEW course at Pharos from Nov 2022
It’s official – I’ve joined the teaching team over at Pharos Tutors and will be launching my brand new course, Mapping Strategies for Family Historians, later this year! It’s a four-week course which will see all participants getting hands-on with historical mapping, using my original methods to bring a whole new perspective to your family history. Ancestral Walks, Concentric Surveys, and my Outlier Method – there should be plenty to keep you enthralled and push your research forward in the process.
The inaugural version of the course kicks off on 7 November 2022, with a second run scheduled for 27 February 2023. Tickets have just gone on sale, so snap yours up quickly while they’re still available!
What did YOUR ancestors do for a living?
Since starting the #OccupationOfTheDay hashtag on Twitter back in September 2020, I’ve enjoyed so many wonderful conversations with people about occupational history, traditional crafts, workplace accidents and all manner of other research stories.
Occupational research can deliver the rich context you need to understand your ancestors’ lives and interpret their records more fully. If you’d like to learn about a whole host of FREE resources to support your journeys through family history, then why not come to my What’s That Job? talk for the IHGS, starting at 10am on Wednesday 4th May? Tickets are £10 and the live online session will include a Q&A afterwards. Book your place now via the IHGS Shop.
It was an absolute delight to deliver my talk, Walking With Your Ancestors: Mapping Strategies for Genealogists to the IHGS on Saturday 23rd April. Once the 90 minute talk opened out into a lively Q&A session, we had a two-hour session on our hands! Thanks to all who attended – this is probably my favourite of all my talks and it’s always fun to connect with other researchers who love maps as much as I do. I hope you enjoy using my Outlier Method, Concentric Survey and Ancestral Walks methods in your family history research.
If you’d like to be amongst the first to hear about new dates for my Mapping talks and other genealogy talks & events, why not sign up to my newsletter? Head to my newsletter signup over at my Khronicle® website to add your name to my list now!
Embrace your inner snail at the TGS Spring Event
THE Genealogy Show‘s Spring Event is just around the corner, and I’m appearing in the line-up on the morning of Saturday 2nd April! I’ll be speaking about decision making in family history research in my talk, Embracing the Snail. We’ll have fun with some hands-on exercises, learn how the pace of our decision-making can affect the outcome. Finally, we’ll explore three different research strategies to engage slow thinking at the right moments, and support sound decision making in our journey towards exciting ancestral stories!
Buy your ticket now – £20 gets you month-long access to all talks at TGS Spring Event, or you can go all-in and pay £45 for a pass to all three shows (Spring, Summer and Winter) for 2022…
Have you registered for RootsTech 2022?
RootsTech Connect, the biggest global conference for all things family history, is fast approaching – and it’s free! Slated to take place from the 3rd – 5th March 2022, you can register on the RootsTech website to enjoy a range of talks from the start of the conference right through to the end of the year. This is a massive event drawing over one million genealogy researchers from all over the world, so you won’t want to miss it!
And while you’re there, you can also catch my Series talks all about the 1921 Census. Look out for Ancestral Hide-and-Seek in the 1920s: The 1921 Census of England and Wales…there are two talks in the series for you to enjoy. I hope you like them!
1921 Census and glorious maps lined up for early 2022
Where has this year gone? It’s November already and that means I’ve been knocking my speaker schedule into shape for the early months of 2022. I’ll be announcing a full talk schedule in the near future as ticketing opens up, but for now you might be interested to keep the evening of Thursday 13th January 2022 free if you’d like to attend my online talk, Ancestral Quickstep, which will look at the 1921 Census of England and Wales. Tickets will be priced at only £3, which is fantastic value for a one-hour live talk with a Q&A session afterwards. The 1921 Census is such a massive record release and a really important milestone in genealogy research, so I’m looking forward to sharing this one with you all. Ticketing details to follow soon, so stay posted!
And I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be reprising my popular Walking With Your Ancestors talk on the morning of Saturday 23rd April 2022. This will also be delivered online and I’ll announce ticketing details and host venue as soon as booking goes live. This one is quite possibly my favourite of all my talks – it’s a 90 minute romp through three practical mapping methods for you to use in family history research and includes tales from the annals of map history and a whole heap of source suggestions, tips and tricks for using maps in your genealogy work. Save the date for now and be ready to book tickets as soon as they become available – last time this one sold out several days in advance!
It’s official – I’ll be speaking at RootsTech 2022!
Notifications came through last week from the team at RootsTech to announce who had been accepted into the speaker line-up for their upcoming international conference in 2022. I’m delighted to let you know that both of my Series proposals have been given the green light, so November here at The Parchment Rustler is going to involve a fair bit of recording work now…
More details will be released in due course, but I can tell you that I’ll be delivering two separate series giving you practical methods and tips to revitalise your genealogy research and reveal exciting new avenues to explore. My first Series will look at Negative Space approaches in family history research, and my second will be delving into the 1921 Census. I can’t wait!
Autumn treats in the pipeline…
Wow, it’s been a busy few months here at Parchment Rustler HQ – in fact it’s been pretty non-stop since the fabulous whirl of discussion that followed my keynote talks at THE Genealogy Show back in June. Due to juggling a number of very exciting projects over the summer and beyond, I had to take a step back from blogging for a few months, but I’m happy to say I have a number of articles about to hit TPR in the coming weeks.
Keep your eyes peeled for articles on…web accessibility for genealogy; methods and approaches for oral history work; and a deep-dive into the Six Thinking Hats approach as applied to family history research. I’ll also be reviewing Helena Merriman’s recent release, Tunnel 29, which chronicles the brave exploits of a group of tunnel-diggers who helped people escape from East Berlin in the 1960s.
And in keeping with my deep love of historical occupations, I’ll soon be reviewing the upcoming display of Maurice Broomfield’s industrial photography, scheduled to open at the V&A in early November. Broomfield’s work is a visual feast and exudes a real love for the artistry and skill of industrial workers. This event is sure to be a winner – check back in November to find out what I thought…
IHGS Diamond Event: Genealogical Marshmallows
We’re now into autumn and October is fast approaching, which means it’s almost time for the second Diamond Event of online talks to celebrate 60 years of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS).
I’m delighted to be the first speaker in the line-up for this online event – my talk Genealogical Marshmallows: Biases and Willpower in Family History research kicks off at 10am on Monday 18th October 2021. We’re going to take a look at how we make decisions in family history research, and what that means for our family narratives as a whole.
I’ve given a lot of talks in my time, but this is the debut for Genealogical Marshmallows and I’m really excited to be sharing this material at last.
Where can I buy tickets?
Tickets are priced £10 and are available from the IHGS online shop. My previous talk for February’s Diamond Event sold out ahead of time, so you might want to register now to avoid disappointment!
What’s the runtime and what can I expect?
The talk starts at 10am BST and will run for around 75 minutes, followed by a Q&A. When I’m giving a longer talk I also include a 2-3 minute break in the middle, so we all have time to stretch our legs, make a cup of tea and return for the second half feeling refreshed.
The session will have an interactive element for those who would like to join in, and I’m aiming for it all to be fun, enjoyable and informative. Marshmallow consumption during the talk is, of course, entirely optional.
The Khronicle pro genealogy website is now live!
Are you thinking of engaging the services of a professional genealogist? Do you have a pesky brick wall which you just can’t break down, or are you hoping to buy a unique gift for a friend, family member or colleague? Then you might be interested in my shiny new pro website over at Khronicle (www.khronicle.co.uk), where I offer family history services including a variety of research packages, bundled research hours and freelance family history writing, as well as live and pre-recorded genealogical seminars. It’s been a labour of love putting this site together and I hope you like it.
And that’s not all! I’m currently working on some exciting new offerings and later this year I’ll be expanding my Research Services with new packages in genealogical mapping and genetic genealogy. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming months for further announcements…
If you also happen to enjoy competitions and you have a Twitter account, then head over to my pro Twitter account at @KhronicleGen. I’m running a Giveaway to celebrate the launch of the Khronicle site and one lucky winner will get their hands on the two superb genealogy books shown below. You’ll need to follow the Khronicle Twitter account and RT the Prize Draw Tweet by 11:59pm BST on Monday 5th July 2021 to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!
Catch my two keynote talks at THE Genealogy Show 2021
Fancy lots of fantastic genealogy talks from the comfort of your own home? THE Genealogy Show is back, and this year it’s going online for the first time ever! Talks are being released one by one over the 25th and 26th June 2021 and will be available for 30 days, so there’s plenty of time for you to enjoy all the seminars multiple times over if you like. The TGS team announced their speaker line-up last week, and I’m delighted to tell you that I’ll be one of their Keynote Speakers, presenting two talks:
- Negative Space: How Genealogy Gaps Can Help Your Tree Flourish, where we’ll be taking a fresh perspective on the gaps in our ancestral timelines to strengthen our research process and boost our critical thinking;
- Mapping Alchemy for Genealogists, introducing you to two mapping techniques which will have you viewing your ancestors in a whole different light!
Head over to their booking page to grab tickets now – an early bird offer with code EARLY20 will let you snaffle a ticket for only £20 (full ticket price £30).
“Genealogical Marshmallows” talk at the IHGS Diamond Event now open for booking
Following on from the success & popularity of February’s Diamond Event week of family history talks as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations for the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS), a new event has been scheduled for October 2021.
Running from Monday 18th to Thursday 21st October, IHGS has put together a fantastic line-up of themes and speakers. I’ll be opening the week at 10am on Monday 18th October, with my talk, Genealogical Marshmallows: Biases and Willpower in Family History Research. I’ll take a look at the decision making process we go through when evaluating evidence, examine the different types of cognitive bias we face and think about how we might combat them. I hope it’ll be an exciting and thought-provoking session and I would love a good audience, so please do join me! If you’d like to find out more about what I’ll be talking about, then you can download a PDF abstract for my talk here.
Tickets cost £10 and booking is now open: places are limited though, so you might want to guarantee your place sooner rather than later (my Maps talk at the February event sold out ahead of time). Click here to buy a ticket for my talk!
Review of Fashion and Family History in WDYTYA? Magazine
The April 2021 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine has now arrived! Turn to page 83 for my review of Jayne Shrimpton’s new title, Fashion and Family History: Interpreting How Your Ancestors Dressed, which covers a dazzling range of historical clothing from all walks of life. This book really was a joy to read and review, so I’m delighted to see a beautifully illustrated, full-page spread for the finished article.
Bringing Home the Bacon: Occupations-themed online talk scheduled for April 2021
Do you know your gongfarmers from your mush fakers, and your charwomen from your colporteurs? And how on earth do you go about researching them?
Join me at 7pm on Wednesday 14th April for my talk Bringing Home the Bacon, an online seminar hosted by Nottinghamshire’s Inspire Archives. Everyone is welcome and tickets cost only £3 – so book now by scrolling to the Eventbrite link at the bottom of this event page.
From the mundane to the bizarre, the research of historical occupations really does make us step back into past worlds. I’ll take you on a tour through some of the weird and not-always-so-wonderful jobs from history, and demonstrate how to pull together an action plan for finding out more about an unfamiliar occupation. We’ll also look at how our forebears’ jobs influenced their health and even the construction of their houses. I’m aiming for this to be a fun, fascinating and useful session – please join us!
IHGS Mapping Seminar Sold Out
Tickets for my talk Walking With Your Ancestors, to be delivered as part of IHGS’ Diamond Anniversary celebrations, have now sold out! If you didn’t manage to get a place this time, please check back here or follow my pro Twitter feed over at @KhronicleGen. I’ll announce new talks in either of those places.
And the Winner Is…
If you entered the Historic Occupations Quiz here on The Parchment Rustler last month, then the wait is over…we have a winner! Many congratulations to John Bravin of Somerset, UK, who wins a copy of Just The Job: How Trades Got Their Names by Alexander Tulloch.
Many thanks to those of you who entered the competition – we hope you enjoyed it. If you’re keen to learn more about the unusual occupational terms which you might uncover in the course of your family history research, then follow the #OccupationOfTheDay hashtag on Twitter: there’s a new job for you to discover every day!
Enjoy Maps? Take a Look At the IHGS Diamond Event Seminar Series…
2021 will see the Institute for Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS) celebrate its Diamond Jubilee through a range of digital events and talks. If you’re keen on maps, then you might be interested to know that The Parchment Rustler‘s Sophie Kay will be delivering an online talk as part of the Diamond Event Seminar Series.
Entitled Walking With Your Ancestors: Mapping Strategies for Genealogists, the talk is scheduled for 10am on Tuesday 9th February. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased directly from IHGS. We’ll look at two key strategies for mapping your ancestors’ lives: the Outlier Method, and Context Embedding; there’ll be plenty of wonderful maps to catch your eye. Join us and see how maps aren’t just beautiful, they’re also an invaluable tool in your genealogy research.
The Diamond Jubilee seminar series includes a variety of talks from some fantastic speakers – check out the full schedule on IHGS’ website.
Maps: A Digital Seminar for Nottinghamshire Archives
As November draws to a close, we see the return of Explore Your Archive week, an annual event dedicated to recognising the value of our archival collections, and encouraging researchers to engage with their historical riches. For this year’s EYA week I’ve been working with Inspire, Nottinghamshire’s county archive, on a digital seminar entitled Mapping Your Ancestors: A Genealogist’s Guide. You can view the video here.
If you have 15 minutes to spare, my talk will take you through all sorts of digital and paper-based map resources and techniques which will not only bring your family history research to life, but actually assist you in the research process. I hope you enjoy watching the video and applying these methods!
New Book Review in WDYTYA? Magazine’s December issue
The December issue of popular genealogy magazine Who Do You Think You Are? has hit everyone’s doormats this week. If you turn to page 84 then you’ll find my most recent article – a review of new title The Official History of Britain. The book uses data from the Office for National Statistics to tell the story of the nation through the last two centuries and it’s a great way for genealogy researchers to understand the social context underpinning their ancestors’ world.
Guest Post in Alan Godfrey Maps Newsletter
I’m a big fan of Alan Godfrey Maps, which produces reprints of historic Ordnance Survey maps, fantastic for use in genealogy research (those of you familiar with the AG maps styling will have noticed their products making an appearance in some of my posts here on TPR). Consequently I was thrilled to write a guest article for the Alan Godfrey newsletter this month, entitled “Mapping Magic for the Family Historian” (link downloads as PDF).
It was fantastic to hear from so many of you in response to my recent (longer read) maps piece here on TPR, so I hope you’ll enjoy this AG article too. It’s a somewhat shorter read and covers two methods for your genealogy research: the Outlier Method and Context Embedding (shown in the image below). You’ll have to read the article to find out more!
The Parchment Rustler makes WDYTYA Mag’s Digital Pick of the Month
There was a bit of a surprise waiting for me when I opened my issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine this time…on browsing the pages, I was delighted to discover that The Parchment Rustler has been selected as their October Pick of the Month. It’s lovely to know that the articles here on TPR are both friendly and informative! Many thanks to Rosemary Collins and the rest of the team at WDYTYA for choosing my blog to be showcased.
Guest Post for Pharos Tutors
Many of you will be familiar with Pharos Tutors, one of the main organisations in the UK for genealogy education and training. The eagle-eyed amongst you this month will have spotted my guest post on the Pharos Tutors blog, entitled “Lost in Genealogy: Seven Steps to Battling Bias”. Many thanks to Karen Cummings at Pharos for the invitation to appear – it’s always great to connect with a new audience!
TPR listed on Feedspot
Feedspot, the blog aggregator site, has listed The Parchment Rustler as the 8th best genealogy blog in the UK. It’s always great to see people enjoying the content on TPR, so based on this I’ll be working hard to keep good articles on genealogy research methods coming your way.
The Parchment Rustler Officially Launches
After some hard work finalising the design and ensuring everything is working nicely, The Parchment Rustler has officially launched. Following an introductory post welcoming readers to TPR, I’ve started off talking about how you can ask the right questions in your genealogy research. Please feel free to join in the discussion – either in the comments section at the bottom of each page, or on social media to my account @ScientistSoph.