By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula at Blanco County News, September 23, 2020
For one local man, American history is neither dusty nor forgotten. It’s very much alive.
Blair Rudy, of Blanco is on a mission to help folks, especially youngsters, understand its importance.
Rudy is the color guard commander for Texas in the Sons of the American Revolution. He’s been a member of the organization known as the Texas Society for the past 15 years.
He also has logged some interesting experiences as a Civil War reenactor, even climbing the same hill that one of his ancestors fought upon and survived.
“It was really chilling,” Rudy said. “There’s an emotion in Civil War reenacting that’s known as ‘The Moment.’ I just felt a sense of ‘wow.’”
He was not as enthralled with history as a youngster, though.
“I didn’t start out as a history buff,” he said. “I got into history through Civil War reenacting. I met this really great group of guys and some of them were members of the Sons of the American Revolution.”
The men are quite varied in their political views, life experiences and professions, but they have one thing in common.
“We just want to honor our ancestors.”
Rudy said that his genealogical research shows that he has at least five Patriot ancestors.
Joining historical societies such as the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution involves much more than writing a check for annual dues.
“It’s a really involved genealogical process—you have to prove birth, marriage and death between yourself and your Patriot ancestor, which can be 12 or 13 generations back,” Rudy said. “It took me about a year and a half, and many, many hours at the National Archives in Fort Worth looking through microfiche documents.”
Sons of the American Revolution members also have to prove the military service of their ancestor or assistance given as money, food or supplies.
“There are lots of ways people served in the Revolution,” Rudy said.
He said that it has gotten easier for people who want to be part of the Texas Society to prove their genealogy, especially as records become digitalized.
“We have genealogists, called ‘registrars,’ to help people do research on their Patriot ancestors,” Rudy said.
Rudy, 67, said that many members of the Sons of the American Revolution are age 60 and older.
“Like many others in the Society, I’d like to see our students taught as much American history as possible,” he said. “The Sons of the American Revolution is attempting to reach out to kindergartners through high school seniors.”
The group hosts a range of contests from posters for elementary-age students to essays and oration for high-schoolers.
“It’s a way for us to help teachers,” Rudy said.
Rudy has learned lessons from being a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
“It’s important to look at history through the glasses of the people who lived it,” Rudy said. “I try hard to see things the way they did. People have a way of turning history around to meet their own needs.”
He suggested seeking out original historical documents.
“What I enjoy the most is the untold history,” he said. “I enjoy helping people look back through time.”