Brenton Simons was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Elwyn Simons and Mary Hoyt Fitch. He attended private schools in Connecticut 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.

Brenton Simons has changed the face of nonprofit-based genealogy in America by bringing the best scholarship to millions of users for more than a decade as President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (2005 to present ~ anchor location of the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He has orchestrated an historic expansion of the organization ― the founding genealogical institution in America and a frequent partner to national hereditary societies ― it now serves almost 400,000 members and millions of online users in 139 countries with 1.4 billion records. An award-winning author, he has been featured on CNN, FOX, BBC, and PBS, as well as in The New York Times 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.” He has presented genealogies to or hosted benefits in honor of former UK Prime Minister Sir John Major KG; Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Hackett Fischer, Stacy Schiff, and Joseph J. Ellis; filmmaker Ken Burns; actress Dame Angela Lansbury; biographer HRH Princess Michael of Kent; and many others.  

Society Memberships

  • New England Historic Genealogical Society (President & CEO)
  • Society of the Cincinnati (CT) (Former Committee on Pretensions member)
  • Society of Colonial Wars (MA & FL) (Assistant Genealogist MA)
  • Society of Mayflower Descendants (MA) (Former Board of Assistants member)
  • Sons of the Revolution (MA) (First Vice President MA)
  • Society of the War of 1812 (MA) (Former President MA); currently Deputy Governor General MA)
  • Order of Founders & Patriots (MA) (Historian)
  • American Friends of St. George’s and Descendants of Knights of the Order of the Garter (Second Vice President)
  • Order of Colonial Lords of Manors in America Board of Directors
  • St. Nicholas Society of the City of New York (Member)
  • The Order of the Crown of Charlemagne (Member)
  • One Hundred Living Descendants of the Blood Royal (Member)
  • Baronial Order of the Magna Charta (Member)
  • Cloak & Dagger (Vice President General)
  • Huguenot Society of America (Member)
  • Order of Americans of Armorial Ancestry (Member)
  • Hereditary Order of Descendants of Colonial Governors (Member)
  • Son of a Witch Honorary (Member)

Chivalry and Heraldry

  • The Venerable Order of Saint John, American Priory (Member)
  • Order of Merit, The Royal House of Portugal (Knight Commander)
  • Grant of Arms, College of Arms (2019) quartered with Hereditary Arms (1588), London
  • Ex-officio, Committee on Heraldry, New England Historic Genealogical Society


  • Books include 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.

Listed In (Publications)

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

Other Notes

Public office: Vice Chair, Plymouth 400th Anniversary State Commission, by appointment of His Excellency, Charles D. Baker, Governor of Massachusetts, 2019 to present; Commission member, Commission to Review the Seal and Motto of Massachusetts, by appointment of His Excellency, Charles D. Baker, Governor of Massachusetts, 2021 to present. 

Honors: The Award of Merit, American Association for State and Local History, 2006; The Spirit of 1812 Award, The National Society United States Daughters of 1812, 2016; Award of Recognition, Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Illinois, 2019.

Memberships: The New England Quarterly (Secretary of the Board of Directors); Plymouth 400 Inc. (Board of Directors); 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.