Executive Office

Ryan J. Woods

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Ryan J. Woods is a fourteen-year veteran of key management positions at American Ancestors / NEHGS. He serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of our organization as well as Clerk of the Council of the Corporation. In his roles, he provides executive oversight for the day-to-day operations of our seventeen activity areas including content and collection development, web services, publishing activities, research services, educational programming, financial operations, facilities management, marketing strategies, and business planning.

He has played a key role in developing services and experiences to meet twenty-first-century research and information access requirements. He was the lead creator of AmericanAncestors.org, our award-winning website and the most-used genealogical society website in the world. He has fostered and managed important collaborations with commercial and nonprofit partners, including overseeing the recruitment of more than 1 billion searchable records to AmericanAncestors.org, and he was a lead staff member in the collaborative effort to establish of our Jewish Heritage Center. Currently, Ryan is focused on partnerships, and business planning for our headquarter expansion and the creation of a national visitor destination experience.

A dedicated researcher, Ryan has authored pedagogical articles about the use of historical biographies to teach character and ethics. He has also contributed genealogical articles and several book forewords for historical and genealogical publications; he regularly presents at national historical and genealogical conferences and events.

Ryan serves on several nonprofit boards and committees, including as Chairman of the Committee on Heraldry, as a member of the Committee on Pretensions of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut, as Lieutenant Governor of the Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as a development committee member for Plymouth 400, as partner representative on the Mayor of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission, and as immediate past-President of the Boston University School of Education Alumni Association. He is also a member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Florida, and the Saint Nicholas Society of New York City.

Ryan and his family, wife Karen, son Nathaniel and daughter Abigail, are strong supporters of cultural institutions in greater Boston; they are patron members of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Plimoth Plantation, Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the New England Aquarium.