The Correspondence of
Neal Wogsland and Arnold Wogsland


Neal kept rather volumous records of things, but it some cases the record is still sparce. Only one letter to Arnold Wogsland was kept, nevertheless it evidences a familiarity between Neal and "Arnie" and for this reason it meritted inclusion in this collection. The letter was transcribed and charts scanned in April 2006 by Bradley Wogsland.

10 August 1983

724 W. Ring Factory Road
Bel Air, Maryland 21014

Dear Cousin Arnie,


I am not one to write many letters, perhaps averaging about one per month. Divide that by the number of people that I should correspond with, and that results in about one letter per decade per individual.

By now you have met my daughter, Dell. Dell Marie and my son, Jim (James Obert), both are graduates of Western Maryland College. Jim recently was promoted from Manager of the Baltimore Branch Office to Regional Training Manager for American International Adjustment Company. Jim, Sally, Bradley (4 this month), and Patrick (2) moved from the Baltimore suburbs to Bel Air last fall. Meanwhile, Nancy (our youngest) just moved to Richmond, VA, to take a job as production artist for COMMISSION Magazine, which is published by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Nancy is a graduate of East Carolina University.

I am inclosing a picture of Mary Dell and myself that was taken 2 years ago. We have been married 31 years. I graduated from Shawano (Wis.) High School in 1945 and from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1949 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. I now work at the US Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.

The enclosed genealogical chart of the descendants of Ole and Gunhild Wogsland shows that I have 54 Wogsland second cousins and I do not remember ever meeting any of them. I must have met some, however, because my parents often stopped at the Styza's when we were in Milwaukee. And there were numerous family reunions in the Iola, Northland, New Hope area. Your sister Mary is one of the few that I have corresponded with. Sister Mary was a great help in putting this list together along with "Aunt" Inez Styza and "Uncle" Raymond Wogsland (Seattle, WA). I was born on 1 Feb 28, Lyle on 10 Nov 29, Sylvia on 17 Nov 31, and Wayne on 29 Jan 36. Lyle retired from the US Air Force about 14 years ao and now works for the Post Office in Madison, WI. Sylvia's children all are married and she works at a drug store in Fort Atkinson, WI. Wayne is a computer programmer in Houston, TX.

About 15 years ago, I got interested in trying to make a list of my relatives. I was told that the Wogsland's were descendants of three brothers, Ole, Halvor, and Erik, who had left their family in Norway and emmigrated to the United States in about the mid-1800s. About 5 years ago, I learned that the entire family, including parents Ole Olson Wogsland (Vaagsland) and Maria Steinarsdotter Vraalstad Wogsland, had come here in 1850. A fourth brother, Steiner, and sisters Aaste and Anne were included. A search through old census records at the National Archives in Washington, DC, provided more information, and some mysteries (see the second enclosure). The 1860 records showed Ole and Mary Oleson and son Eric living with Ole and Cornelia Volksland in the town of New Hope. Meanwhile, Stein and Adline Olsen (Olesen) were neighbors of Halvor Olesen in the town of Iola. There was no mention of Aaste (Bergen) or Anne. Eventually, I found Knut and Caroline Bergen in the 1900 census; then, tracing backward, found them under the name Gunderson in 1880 ... neighbors of Halvor and Erick. Steiner sold his farm to brother Eric and moved to Barron County in the 1870s. I have found no references to the other sister, Anne, except that she was confirmed in 1852 in Wisconsin by N. Brandt.

My first knowledge of Steiner and Aaste came from correspondence with Melvin Voxland, Rochester, MN, a retired schoolteacher who was actively conducting genealogical studies. Melvin indicated that we probably were related, descendants of early proprietors of the Vaagsland Gaard (farm) near Tordal, Drangeldal, Telemark, Norway. He provided his Wogsland ancestral lineage and copies of several pages from an old book, pages that discussed the Vaagsland and Vraalstad farms. I was able to identify our mutual ancestors and identify our Vaagsland ancestry back to Torbjorn Vaagsland who was born about 1555 and probably was a grandson of either Aslak or Karl Leidulfson Vaagsland, who purchased Vaagsland about 1520. Melvin is our 5th cousin, once removed (i.e., 5th cousin to both of our fathers). We allare descendants of Lars Nottolfson Vaagsland (1705-1777) and Aslaug Simonsdatter Vaagsland (1696-1764).

A 5th cousin, Robert Hanson from Wisconsin Rapids, sent me considerable verifying data that he had ontained from Norwegian archive records. An interesting feature was the type of genealogical chart used by Norwegian researchers. The basic chart shows 5 generations of ancestors of an individual arranged in a -circle. I have used that idea to show the ancestors of Ole Olson Wogsland (our great-great-grandfather) on his father's side (a -circle). I have inclosed a copy of the chart. Robert is a descendant of Kari Nottolfdotter Vaagsland (b. 1761), the sister of our Olav Nottolfson Vaagsland (b. 1757).

Again looking at our Wogsland (Vaagsland) lineage, it goes back to Leidulf (probably), who probably was born about 1455 to 1460. Our Bergane lineage goes back to Lars Snoaas, for whom I guess a birthdate of about 1520. Meanwhile, our Vraalstad lineage goes back much farther to a man known as Svein, who was born somewhere around 1225. His grandson, Hallvard Torbjornson Vraalstad, died in 1341, and probably was elderly since his son had preceded him.

Well, that's enough for now. I would like to hear from you. Take care!

Best Wishes,

Neal C. Wogsland
(2nd Cousin)

Usually, Neal spells "inclose" and its derivatives with an "i" rather than an "e" which is more prevalent in standard English. Both spellings were accepted as correct when Neal wrote this letter, however several of the appearances of the word have an "i" whited out and an "e" typed over it.

Below are the 3 charts Neal inclosed (er ... enclosed), although he did not leave a copy of the picture he mentioned on file.

Neal neglected to include the "notes on back" in his photocopying, however, if one assumes the relevant ones are unchanged from earlier versions of the chart:


The ages given in the US Census enumerations are as of June 1st of the census year.

* 1890-1 North New Hope Church census
** Wojsland
*** Wogslan
# Steiner Woxland (Wogsland) was identified as a widower (he later remarried).
(?) Possibly children younger than Oscar, but this guess seems correct.
(??) Possibly reversed, but this guess seems correct.

Children of Gunder K. Bergen also were listed in the 1890-1 NNH Ch census.

Halvor Wogsland is believed to have married a widow with a young son (Carl).

Anothe descendeant of Ole and Maria was a daughter named Anne, born 28 August 1836. She was confirmed in the USA in 1851. So far, I have not located her in the census records.

Three children of Ole and Maria died in their infancy.

Census records after 1900 are "closed" because of US Privacy Laws. The 1900 records have just recently been made available, but only at the National Archives and only to persons conducting genealogical research.

Stamtavle is a Norwegian word which has recognizable English cognates: stem + table, although we would refer to ancestors as "roots" rather than a "stem".

Last Modified: 25 April 2006 by Bradley James Wogsland.