Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screenshot of Daytum food tally from earlier in the week.


A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

A screenshot from the Daytum site; this represents one (particularly unhealthful) day of eating.

Carte topographique de l’Egypte

I created a map using the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, which allows you to overlay maps from previous eras to the current map.  Because my final project will be to explore some element of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I wanted to see what the Palestinian territories looked like historically.

The map the was overlaid was entitled “Egypt Palestine 1818.”  It was an ensemble of seven “maps of Palestine from the famous 47 sheet Carte topographique de l’Egypte.”  They show pre-Mandate period Palestine in great detail. All the names on the maps are in both French and Arabic (fortunately, I speak French, so this was not a problem for me).  According the description, “These maps remained the most accurate of the area until the British surveys of 1907.”  I was able to use a slider, which changed the level of transparency, and which made the differences in the political landscape appear even starker. I was not sure how to save the map, although I was able to create a link to the page:

Because I have no memory left on computer—something which is likely due to the presence of a virus or some other infection (after having removed several gigabytes of data, it continues to inform me that I am out of memory)—and I cannot take it in to a Mac store for repair, because my car was totaled this weekend—I am unable to download Google Earth, which likely would have provided more the most interesting map overlay. Next week, perhaps.

…Though not for Trying

I chose to create a map of Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories, because I used to live in Israel and I had a lot of friends in Bethlehem.  I used Google’s Maps Engine, which was easy enough to begin with, but soon derailed into a complicated mess.  When I tried to add a layer to the map, I received no less that five error messages on the map, stating, in a little yellow box, “an error has occurred, because your page has been reverted.”  It suggested I refresh the page, which I did—and then I received a 503 Error message: “That’s an error. There was an error. Please try again later. That’s all we know.” 

Now, before I go on, I should add that my hard drive has almost completely run out of space—I continue to delete images, movies, hundreds of megabytes worth of data, but to no avail.  So this may have something to do with the trouble I am currently experience with Google’s Maps Engine, although every other web page seems to be working fine.

In any case, I went back, and tried to create a new map. This I did this repeatedly, and each time, I received the same 503 error message.  I closed my browser, restarted my computer, and tried again—nothing.  So I went to my iPad, and tried to create a map through Google’s Maps engine there—only to see the very same 503 Error message.  

So, as per the instructions on one of the pages Professor Bush linked to (“Make or open a custom map), I signed in to Google Maps, clicked on “My Places” at the left, then clicked on “Create Map”—at which point, the Google Maps engine homes screen appeared. I clicked on “create new map,” and the “503 error” appeared again.  I suspect this is an error with the server, and not on my end. I will try again tomorrow before class.

C&O Canal Salaries: Scavenger Hunt

The question was: How much did the C&O Canal pay its employees in the summer of 1873/?

The task seemed easy enough: Google would almost certainly know the answer, because Google knows all.  So I began, as most people likely did, by entering the entire question into the Google search engine.  Unfortunately, I did not find any answers–not even close.   I did, however, find a Wikipedia entry on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (, so I the looked at the entry under “wages.”  It states that “fifteen hours a day was the minimum, 18 hours were the most frequently reported, according to the U.S. Department of Labor…[c]aptains were paid per to per trip, receiving $70 to $80 per trip in the 1920s, receiving less than $1,250 per year. Deck hands were paid $12 to $20 per trip, sometimes receiving clothes in lieu of wages or for part of their wages.”  While this information was relevant to my topic, it was simply not specific enough to find the correct answer to the question. 

I then began to peruse through the footnotes, whereupon I came upon a link to a book by the US Department of Labor, entitled “Canal Boat Children” ( ).  This book also contained information on average salaries for C&O canal workers, but again, it was not specific enough. I then decided to try ProQuest, where I entered search terms such as “C&O Canal, salary, and 1873,” and while plenty of documents appeared, they were not what I was looking for.  This was beginning to feel like looking for a needle in needle stack.

Finally, at the suggestion of a friend, I decided to go back and narrow my search terms.  I played around with several terms, including “Salaries for C&O canal workers summer 1873,” but only after typing, “1873 salaries C&O canal” did I find the document I had been searching for: The 1873 C&O Canal Payroll Records. 

According to the synopsis posted on the website ( “Using records from the National Archives, William Bauman has transcribed several months’ payroll for the entire canal. These documents include payments to lock keepers, laborers, carpenters, stone cutters, masons, etc. You can see which jobs were the most lucrative. Laborers earned $1.50 per day, carpenters $2.25 per day, and masons $4. [Emphasis added] You can find several female lock keepers listed.”

If you click on any one of the links, it will take you to a table, which contains a breakdown of the salaries by worker; for instance, in June 1873, the C&O Canal paid its employees a total of $3,511.90 per month, minus room and board.  In July, they paid them a total $3,063.53. 

The primary source is from National Archives, record number 79.12.2: Records of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, located at

Overall, I was surprised by how unintuitive Google can be.  Perhaps fortunately, sometimes we still have to rely on human brainpower when searching for an answer.