This page uses cookies for the purpose of analysing and improving your experience on this site. May we continue to do so?
For more information, please see our privacy policy.

Dr. Sophie Kay

M.A. (Oxon), M.Sc. (Manc), D.Phil. (Oxon), FHEA

Introductions should always come first. So shall we get started?

When you’re choosing a professional to take on a project for you, we know that it’s important to see their qualifications and experience.

If you’d like to know more before making an enquiry with us, please read on to find out more about Dr. Sophie Kay’s research qualifications, freelance writing, experience as a lecturer & educator, and community roles.

Qualifications & Experience

Sophie is a professional genealogist & AGRA Member with over 18 years’ experience of family history research across the British Isles, and brings family history to a global TV audience as the Ancestry and Genealogy Expert for Time Team.

She can work across a range of historical research subjects from the 1500s onwards, but her specialisms include genetics and DNA, death records, historical occupations, and genealogical mapping methods. Currently working towards the Higher Certificate in Genealogy with the Institute of Historical and Genealogical Studies, her professional development was recognised with awards from Soroptimist International in 2019 and the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) in 2022.

In addition to her professional research work, Sophie teaches research methodology for Pharos Tutors, through her popular courses in Mapping Strategies and Critical Thinking. She is also the DNA Specialist Tutor for the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies.

A qualified research scientist from the University of Oxford, Sophie attained her doctorate in Systems Biology in 2015. She is trained in DNA extraction and genetic analysis and brings the precision and problem-solving creativity from her professional training to every project she works on. Sophie is also qualified in Latin translation and can work with documents in classical or medieval Latin.

Freelance Writing

Sophie’s genealogy blog The Parchment Rustler features a variety of family history topics and was selected as Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine’s Digital Pick of the Month in October 2020. Sophie is a frequent contributor to Family Tree magazine (UK), authoring genealogy articles on research methodology and genetic genealogy, and responding to readers' how-to questions.

An experienced freelance writer, Sophie accepts writing commissions in the areas of family history, genetics and data visualisation. Writing credits include literary reviews for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine and feature articles for Family History magazine, the Lost Cousins newsletter, Alan Godfrey Maps, Pharos Tutors, Mozilla and OpenSource.

Lecturing & Education

Sophie is an experienced international speaker and award-winning lecturer and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018. A familiar face on the UK genealogy circuit and beyond, her recent speaking appearances include:

  • Institute of Heraldic & Genealogical Studies
  • Curious Descendants Club
  • Society of Genealogists
  • Association of Professional Genealogists
  • Register of Qualified Genealogists
  • Family Tree Magazine - Plus Clubs and public seminar series
  • THE Genealogy Show (Keynote Speaker 2021)
  • Inspire Archives, Nottinghamshire
  • RootsTech 2022

You can watch one of Sophie’s pre-recorded short talks, Mapping Your Ancestors, over on Inspire’s YouTube channel.

Sophie’s prizes for excellence and innovation in teaching include a University of Oxford Teaching Award and an International Award from the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Community Roles

Since March 2020 Sophie has been part of the team behind Ancestry Hour, the thriving Twitter-based hub for discussing all things family history. Live chat sessions are open to the entire genealogy community and take place every Tuesday at 7pm, UK time.

She is also a co-founder of the Pro-Am Genies, a networking and development group for professional and aspiring professional genealogists, whose members are all alumni of the Pro Genealogy course at Pharos Tutors.

Sophie served on the User Advisory Group of The National Archives (UK) from 2018 to 2022.