Much of what is known about the crew of the Hunley comes from forensic and genealogical science and historical research. Scientists can detect a person's height, health and physical ailments from bones. Using isotopic patterns recorded in human remains, it is possible to pinpoint a person's country even region of origin, diet and, to some extent, different places the person lived. This data was matched with the thin paper trail left by the eight men who sailed on the Hunley's final voyage to match, as closely as possible, their remains with their names.

The information in these biographies comes from the work of Maria Jacobsen, the Hunley project's senior archaeologist; Dr. Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution, considered the world's leading expert on the human skeleton; and Linda Abrams, a Massachusetts-based forensic genealogist who identifies war casualties for the Department of the Army. Additional information, including some historical research and background, comes from Post and Courier staff writer Brian Hicks, co-author of the critically acclaimed book Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine (Ballantine/Random House).