New England Historic Genealogical Society Staff

D. Brenton Simons
President and CEO
D. Brenton Simons
For more than a decade, Brenton Simons has led the New England Historic Genealogical Society ― the founding genealogical organization in America and the most respected organization of its kind in the world ― in unprecedented growth and to its pivotal role in the widespread popular interest in genealogy today.

An award-winning historian, Mr. Simons is the author of Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views, Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775 (recipient of the 2006 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History), and The Langhornes of Langhorne Park. He is the co-editor with Peter Benes of The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England. His articles have appeared in numerous journals and he was the founding editor of American Ancestors magazine.

During his tenure as President and CEO, the New England Historic Genealogical Society ( has greatly expanded its national scope and scholarly reach, successfully completed a $57 million capital campaign, increased its constituency to more than 150,000 individuals and millions of online visitors, added more than a billion records to its website, and received numerous awards for the excellence of its publications. In addition, it serves as the anchor location of the PBS television series, “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”

Mr. Simons is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, a life member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut, a member of the American Antiquarian Society, the Club of Odd Volumes, and the Somerset Club, a proprietor of The Boston Athenæum, and a member of the board of The New England Quarterly.
Ryan J. Woods
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Ryan Woods
Engaged in museum and library management for more than a decade, Ryan Woods oversees the day-to-day operations of NEHGS and is responsible for the strategic implementation of technology and content services. Since joining NEHGS in 2007, he has held successive roles developing education programs, supervising the research library, and leading business and technology initiatives, including the creation of the Society’s flagship website, Prior to arriving at NEHGS, Ryan served in several capacities at the Mary Baker Eddy Library and at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, where he was recognized by members of Congress and by the Archivist of the United States with a commendation for outstanding achievement in public service. A licensed educator and author of educational and genealogical articles, he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, education, and non-profit program management from Boston University. In addition to his work at NEHGS, Ryan serves on several boards of historical and educational institutions and is a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, the Society of Colonial Wars, the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. He can be reached at or by phone at 617-226-1205.
Ted MacMahon
Vice President of Development and Member Services
Ted MacMahon
Ted brings two decades of fundraising and capital campaign experience to NEHGS. He was previously Director of Institutional Advancement at The Fenn School and Vice President for Development at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston. He was president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Massachusetts Chapter, 2003-2006, and is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE). You can email Ted at or contact him at 617-226-1218.
Susan Harrington
Assistant to the President and CEO
Susan Harrington
Susan is a long-time member of NEHGS and joined the staff in 2013. Her career has spanned several years supporting executives at the headquarters of a multi-national corporation and, more recently, at a private trust and investment firm, both in Boston. She holds a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Bates College, majored in French and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her interest in genealogy and history began as a teenager and has led to research in New England (focusing on Great Migration settlers), Ohio, the Mid-Atlantic States and the British Isles in particular. She also has an interest in Native American, European and royal genealogy. Susan enjoys helping to organize reunions of her far-flung family members and encouraging younger generations to explore their ancestry. She can be reached at or by phone at 617-226-1220.