In this talk Len Holder explores the maritime roots of his family. He starts with stories round the dining table and going back in time, to his great-great-grandfather who was a master in sail, and his uncle who also a master mariner and became a harbour master in Malaya – leading to his own career, doing homework by the light of an oil lamp, before studying for a research degree in satellite navigation systems. Since investigating his own family tree, he has helped other people find their maritime ancestors, and he discusses some of the key information sources in his talk.
Leonard Holder is a master mariner. After serving for 10 years at sea, he came ashore in 1963 to carry out research and to lecture at Liverpool Polytechnic. Since 1989 he has been an independent consultant and in 1996 he became Chairman of Videotel Marine International, providing training materials for more than 10,000 merchant ships, in 20 different languages. He is a Fellow of both the Nautical Institute and the Royal Institute of Navigation, and Past Master of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. In 2012 he was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal ‘for services to the Nautical Institute and marine safety training’.