Well before we began the excavations, historians were hard at work creating a list of candidates for the occupants of the lead coffins. Certain characteristics such as high status, wealth and adherence to Roman Catholicism, were given traits since burial in a Roman Catholic Church in a lead coffin indicated that the individuals had to fit these profiles.
Death dates had to occur after 1667 when the Brick Chapel was built, and before 1705 when the doors to the Chapel were locked by order of the Royal Governor. The individual had to live near enough to St. Mary’s City for it to be practical to have been buried there. Given this collection of evidence, the historians were able to create a short list of individuals who could have been buried in the lead coffins.