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A quest to determine whether human remains salvaged from the wreck of the Whydah pirate ship are those of its captain, Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy, brought an investigator for the project across the Atlantic Ocean to gather DNA from Bellamy’s descendant and visit the pirate’s birthplace.

“When you’re chasing history like that, and you can actually reach out and touch it and feel it in a very visceral way, it makes the journey that much more potent and important,” said Casey Sherman, a author, filmmaker and lead investigator for the Whydah team working to identify the remains.

Sherman traveled to the United Kingdom two weeks ago, where he collected a DNA sample from Simon Bellamy, a fifth-generation nephew of the pirate, and sent it to forensic scientists at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. There, it will be tested against DNA collected from a human bone that was unearthed Feb. 19 from a concretion of sediment found at the wreck site.

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