Select Page

… in a genealogical perspective

Genealogy lowers blood pressure.

No, really, it does.

Yesterday, The Legal Genealogist was one of the many many travelers caught up in the midst of an air traffic hassle in the great American middle: strong bands of thunderstorms throughout the middle of the country slowed air travel in and out of some of the country’s busiest airports.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) — fourth busiest airport in the United States1 and 12th busiest in the world2 — was repeatedly shut down, reopened, shut down, and reopened.

For those of us routed through DFW yesterday, that made traveling a real hassle. Lots and lots of missed connections, people not getting where they needed to be, long lines at counters to try to get help and more.

Including greatly elevated blood pressure for a whole bunch of folks who kept describing the day as their “worst travel nightmare.”

Travel nightmare

Look at this map of the route I ended up taking to get home from a family get-together out west over this past holiday weekend. A journey of about 2464 miles, if Google Earth can be believed.

• The first part, from Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico, to Tucson, Arizona, by car.

• Then from Tucson to Dallas by air in what the pilot himself said was the single longest air trip from Tucson to Dallas in the history of aviation.

• Then what should have been Dallas direct to Newark ended up being Dallas to Charlotte, a missed connection, and an overnight in North Carolina.

• Then finally a last flight from Charlotte to Newark a day later.

Lots of sitting around on airplanes and in airports. Unexpected and unscheduled Lyft rides to and from an unexpected hotel. Finally home many many hours after I should have been.

And no high blood pressure for me at all.

Not one bit.

And the reason why not?



Because what kept going through my mind was… my ancestors would have thought this was a piece of cake.

My father’s parents traveled about 3800 miles from Bremen to New York in 1925, bringing my very young father with them to their new country, and it took them eight days.

My mother’s grandparents traveled from their home in southern Texas to a whole new territory in Oklahoma just after the turn of the 20th century, bringing with them my very young grandmother and one of her brothers — and they did it in an ox-drawn wagon. Figure 20 miles a day, and 440 miles to go — the trip would have taken them 22 days.

And my third great grandparents — born in North Carolina just before the turn of the 19th century — traveled across the United States, first to Kentucky by 1850, then Iowa by 1854, before finally settling in Texas before 1860. I don’t even want to think about how long any one of those trips would have taken them.

Throughout this trip, I had plenty of fresh water,3 plenty of food that I didn’t need to catch or cook myself, flush toilets, air conditioning when that was needed, heat when that was needed, a soft bed to sleep in, and fast internet connections to whine about the travel delays to my friends.

Yep, genealogy really can lower your blood pressure.

Because knowing our family’s history sure does put today’s “worst travel nightmare” into perspective, doesn’t it?


  1. See Wikipedia (, “List of the busiest airports in the United States,” rev. 3 Oct 2018.
  2. See Benjamin Zhang, “These are the 20 busiest airports in the world,” Business Insider, posted 16 June 2018 ( : accessed 10 Oct 2018).
  3. Yes, sometimes flavored with hops…
Print Friendly, PDF & Email