For the past eight years, Dr. Stenton said, researchers on the team were “very hopeful” that they would be able to match a sample from a living descendant to a sailor from the pool of DNA they had collected from remains. The first 16 samples they received failed to produce a match, making the Gregory pairing “very gratifying,” he said.

Although the identification has not changed the narrative of the expedition, Dr. Stenton said that “the more individuals we can identify, there might be some useful information that could come up that might help us better understand” what happened to the explorers.

He said he was grateful for the families who had sent in DNA, whether they were matched or not, adding that he was pleased to be able to provide Gregory’s family with details about the sailor’s final years. He informed them that Gregory was not alone when he died, as the remains of two other sailors were found at the same site.

“There’s an eerie feeling about it all,” Mr. Gregory said, “but at the end of the day, I suppose it’s closure.”

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