I had some time tonight to dig into my own family history (yay!) and found myself drawn to the records of a relative I haven't really researched much before - Iver Bergstad, son of Ole Sjursen Bergstad and Karen Johannesdatter, born in Fertile, Worth County, Iowa, on 8 April 1878. Ivar's father Ole was born in Norway, and was the brother of my ancestor Johannes Sjursen Bergstad.
The earliest record I have of Ivar is his baptism into the Fertile Lutheran Church on 12 May 1878, just a few weeks after his birth. His godparents were Johannes Sjursen (likely his uncle and my ancestor), Knud Sjursen (another uncle) Thorbjor Knudsen and Anna (can't read her last name). Two years later, he's in the 1880 census with his large extended family - parents Ole and Karen (aka Caroline), older siblings Carl and Shur, uncle Knudt Bergstad and aunt Caren, and cousins Albert and Anne. He seems to have lived with and near family for much of his life:
1885 - Ivar lived with his parents and older brothers, as well as younger brothers John and Nils.
1895 - Ivar lived with his parents and all the previously listed siblings, as well as additional siblings Sophia and Osker.
1905 - Ivar was still living with his parents and all his siblings, none of whom had apparently yet married.
1915 - Iowa decided the best way to record the census was to make individual cards for each person. That makes it unclear who lived with who, since home addresses weren't recorded.
1917 - He listed Ole Bergstad (maybe his father) as someone who would always know his address.
1920 - Ivar lived with his parents and brother Osker (also known as Clarence).
1925 - Ivar's father had passed away, but his mother and brother Osker still lived with him.
1930 - Osker had married a woman named Ida, and they had two children, Otto and Betty Ann. They lived with Karen, Ivar and Osker's mother, in Ivar's home.
1940 - Ivar's household included his mother, his nephew Otto, and his brother Nils.
He was physically pretty fit too - his WWI draft registration said he was 6 feet tall, 175 pounds, blonde hair and blue eyes. He worked as a farmer in every census, and in every census of his adult life, Ivar was the head of the household, even when his parents lived with him. Though he apparently never married or had kids, he took care of his family well in to his 50s and maybe longer. He seems to have been one of those men who just did what needed to be done to take care of those he loved. He passed away in North Dakota in 1971.