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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

Indiana Department of Natural Resources:  National & State Registers - Application Process
The nomination form to be used in this assignment is the first form in the Application process or can be downloaded at this link.

National Register Bulletin:  Researching a Historic Property

Indiana Landmarks

Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)
Search for information on properties registered in state and national registers of historic places.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Preservation Directory

Step 6: Identifying Residents of the House

Because property owners do not necessarily live in the houses they owned, or may have lived with additional people (family members, tenants, service staff), you will have to 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. However, note that directories at least through 1906 and possibly through the 1920s, do not have a way to look up information by street address.  For directories from at least 1933 on, there are street address indexes.

Goshen Public Library has many, but not all city directories, see their website for a full list of what years they cover.

Additionally the Mennonite Historical Library (MHL) has the following years: 1895, 1897, 1906, 1933, 1966, 1971, 1981, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2000.

The Elkhart County Historical Museum has a large collection of Goshen city directories, covering the following years: 1878*, 1883*, 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.

*These directories may be listed as Elkhart city directories because Elkhart and Goshen were combined for a while.

The 1885-1886 City Directories of Elkhart and Goshen (you can use the search feature, but if it doesn't produce results, try searching manually because the search isn't 100% accurate because it's reading the images) 

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 on campus only. This means you need to use either a campus computer or make sure your device is logged into the GC Network via the gc wireless network. Additionally there are only 10 users allowed at the same time, so please close your browser when you are done. 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 information about residents of the house in the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 census.