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Negative Space: Genealogy Gaps Can Help Your Tree Flourish

Registration Types


  • Wed 7 Aug 2024, 12:00pm–1:00pm


All Ages

Listed by

Seonaid Harvey

Did you know that if your ancestor died aged 60, they were alive for nearly 22,000 days? If you’re lucky, you probably know what they were doing and where they were on perhaps 10 – 20 of those. So why aren’t we spending more time thinking about what the gaps in our family history research are telling us? Those gaps – known as NEGATIVE SPACE – matter because they can completely change our impression of what our ancestors’ stories actually are.

So let’s explore a technique called the Negative Space Approach. We’re going to throw our research gaps into the spotlight and use them to transform brick walls into assets that can direct and shape our onward research: sharpening our searches, reducing bias & boosting our critical thinking... and opening our eyes to the real stories of those that came before us. Whatever your level of experience, wherever you’re from, this session promises to transform the way you look at your family history research.

About the speaker
Dr. Sophie Kay, professional genealogist and geneticist, Khronicle (UK)

From DNA to historical maps, from research methods to historical occupations, Dr. Sophie Kay is a UK-based professional genealogist and geneticist at Khronicle® ( who loves all manner of family history research challenges. She’s the Ancestry and Genealogy Expert for popular archaeology show, Time Team; the specialist DNA Tutor for the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies; and teaches courses in historical mapping techniques and research methodology at Pharos Tutors. She’s also a Member of AGRA, a UK organisation of professional family historians. When she’s not delving into clients’ DNA results, poring over archival documents or teaching genealogy, Sophie writes articles for her family history blog, The Parchment Rustler (, where she shares tips, tricks and strategies for making the most of your ancestral research journey.

*Book via Eventfinda to attend in person, or via Zoom to attend online*

Dr Kay will be the keynote speaker at the Auckland Family History Expo opening event on Friday night 9 August 5pm, sharing her Time Team experiences with us "Time Team: When Archaeology Met Family History."

Dr Kay will also be speaking at the Expo on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August. Topics: "Mapping Alchemy for Genealogists", "Genetic Hide-and-Seek: Exploring Missing Ancestor Mysteries with DNA", "What’s That Job? Finding your feet in a world of unfamiliar occupations" and "BOOZE: A story of alcoholism and a Victorian family"

For more information on the Auckland Family History Expo please see the Auckland Libraries website


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