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Public History: Doing a House History: Step 6: Who Lived in the House?

This guide provides detailed instructions for the house history assignment.

Helpful House History Resources Online

Step 6: Identifying Residents of the House

Because property owners do not neccessarily live in the houses they owned, or may have lived with additional people (family members, tenants, service staff), you will haveto use Goshen City Directories to determine who lived in the house.  From the directories, you can often determine more than the name of the individuals living in the house:  occupations, marital status, ownership of telephones, and other historical nuggets may be gleaned from city directories.

The Elkhart County Historical Museum has a large collection of Goshen city directories, covering the following years: 1890, 1895, 1895-1896, 1897, 1898, 1903, 1906-1907, 1908-1909, 1910-1911, 1921, 1925, 1927, 1937, 1941, 1946, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1957, 1960-1962, 1964-1972, 1974-1982, 1984, 1991, 1991-1992, 1994.

Again, you will want to take excellent notes as you do this research! 

Another source of good information about residents is the census enumeration sheets.  You can search from the Good Library, the Mennonite Historical Library, the Mennonite Church USA Archives, or any of the computer labs on campus only.  However, you cannot search ancestry by address.  Therefore, you might find it easier to search for residents of the house using the microfilm copies of the census in the collections of the Elkhart County HIstorical Museum.  Check for informaiton about residents of the house in the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 census.