D. Brenton Simons OBE was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Elwyn Simons and Mary Hoyt Fitch. He attended private schools in Connecticut, South Carolina and Switzerland; graduated from Aiken Preparatory School, Aiken, SC; Hamden Hall Country Day School, Hamden, CT; Bachelor of Science, College of Communication, Boston University; Master’s Degree, School of Education, Boston University.

In the 2023 Special Honours, His Majesty King Charles III appointed Mr. Simons an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for his longtime services to Anglo-American history.

Brenton Simons has changed the face of nonprofit-based genealogy in America and beyond by bringing the best scholarship to millions of users as President and CEO (2005-2024), and President Emeritus and Chief Stewardship Officer (2024-present), of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the founding genealogical society in the world (established 1845). Otherwise known as American Ancestors, it is the anchor location of the long-running PBS television series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He orchestrated an historic expansion of the institution, now serving almost 450,000 members and millions of online users with 1.4 billion records in 139 countries. See

An award-winning author, he has been widely featured on television, radio, and in print and online media in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere. His most recent book, Boston Beheld, was hailed as “the book Jane Austen might have written had she run into Dickens after his return from his Boston visit of 1842.”


·    New England Historic Genealogical Society / American Ancestors (President & CEO, 2005-2024; President Emeritus & Chief Stewardship Officer, 2024-present)

·       American Patrons of St. George’s and The Descendants of The Knights of the Order of the Garter (President, 2022-present)

·       Ancient Heraldic and Chivalric Order of Albion (Knight)

·       National Order of the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe (Honorary)

·       Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut

·       Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York

·       Aztec Club of 1847

·       General Society of the War of 1812

·       General Society of the Sons of the Revolution

·       Huguenot Society of America

·       Holland Society of New York

·       General Society of Colonial Wars (MA and FL)

·       Colonial Society of Pennsylvania

·       Hereditary Order of the Descendants of Colonial Governors

·       Order of the Founders and Patriots of America

·       General Society of Mayflower Descendants

·       Baronial Order of the Magna Charta

·       Order of the Crown in America

·       Order of Americans of Armorial Ancestry

·       Welcome Society of Pennsylvania

·       National Society of Americans of Royal Descent

·       Order of Colonial Cavaliers (Honorary)

·       Order of Colonial Lords of Manors in America (Honorary)

·       Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America

·       Son of a Witch (Honorary)

·       One Hundred Living Descendants of Blood Royal 

Chivalry, Heraldry, Military, and Freemen

·       The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Officer) OBE

·       The Venerable Order of Saint John, American Priory (Member)

·       International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences (President)

·       Armiger, granted by College of Arms (2019) quartered with inherited arms (1588)

·       Committee on Heraldry, New England Historic Genealogical Society (1864)

·       Gold’s Dragoons, Fairfield, Connecticut (1657)

·       Squadron A Association, New York Hussars, New City (1889)

·       The Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London of North America


·       Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence (Saint Nicholas Society)

·       Bradford Award (Pilgrim Hall Museum)

·       Frances Wister Award (Colonial Dames of America, PA)

·       Award of Recognition (Colonial Wars, IL)

·       John Adams Medal (Sons of the Revolution, MA)

·       History Medal (Daughters of the American Revolution, MA)

·       Spirit of 1812 Award (National Society United States Daughters of 1812, MA)

·       Award of Merit (American Association for State and Local History)


  • Boston Beheld (2008); Witches, Rakes, and Rogues (2005); The Art of Family (co-editor, 2002); The Langhornes of Langhorne Park (1997); and numerous articles, essays, and introductions.

Public Offices

  • Vice Chair, Plymouth 400th Anniversary State Commission, by appointment of His Excellency, Charles D. Baker, Governor of Massachusetts, 2019-2022
  • Member, State Commission to Review the Seal and Motto of Massachusetts, by appointment of His Excellency, Charles D. Baker, Governor of Massachusetts, 2021-2023. 

Listed In (Publications)

  • Who’s Who in America; Social Register (Advisory Committee and Consulting Editor)

Other Notes

Other memberships and offices: The New England Quarterly (former Secretary of the Board of Directors); Plymouth 400 Inc. (former Board of Directors member); The Colonial Society of Massachusetts (former Council member); Massachusetts Historical Society (Fellow); American Antiquarian Society (elected Member); Boston Athenaeum (Proprietor); Somerset Club; Club of Odd Volumes, French Heritage Society (Honorary). Episcopalian.