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MSS 200 (A.04-127)

Title: Girling Family fonds

Dates: 1900-1988

Extent: 0.25 m of textual records

Biographical sketch: Joseph “Joe” E. Girling was born near Coventry, England in September 1872. He emigrated to Rapid City in the Basswood District of Manitoba in 1889, when he was 16 years of age. He was following in the footsteps of his uncle, William “Billy” Girling, who had come to Manitoba several years earlier. Joseph and his Uncle Billy rented a farm together in the early 1890s but went their separate ways when William married in 1895. Joe left the area and spent several years working for farmers and in logging camps until he purchased his own farm in 1900. He sold this farm in 1902 and bought another in the Montcalm District. In 1903 Joe married Mary Forsyth, the youngest daughter of James and Isabella Forsyth. Joe and Mary had two children: Joseph Raymond (Raymond) and Mary Kathleen (Kay). In 1915 they sold their farm and moved to the Basswood district to be nearer to the new school that was being built.

Raymond Girling was born in October 1907. He attended Basswood School for eleven years and the Manitoba Agricultural College in Winnipeg for one year. After receiving his certificate he returned to the family farm, married Margaret Lane, and worked in partnership with his father Joseph until his parents’ retirement in 1943. In 1952 Raymond married Edith Mitchell (nee Kingdon). They farmed independently until 1972, and resided on the Basswood farm until 1977, when they built a new home in Minnedosa. Raymond was predeceased by Edith in 1998, and passed away in January 2004.

The Girling Family fonds provides a glimpse into the operation of a family farm in the Minnedosa area during the mid-twentieth century. The family’s activities were typical of the time and place, and the detail with which they recorded their financial transactions allows us to see how farm families made ends meet through the depression, World War II and post-war years. The Girlings were important members of the Basswood community, and this collection is a small but interesting piece of rural Manitoba history.

Custodial History: The fonds was donated to Archives & Special Collections by Ron and Gaileen Kingdon in 2004.

Scope and Content: The Girling Family fonds contains detailed records of the farm’s operation from the time of purchase in 1915 until its sale in 1977, as well as personal documents belonging to Raymond Girling. The fonds consists of: ledgers of the family’s financial transactions, including grain sales, livestock dealings, farm labour payments and farm maintenance and operating expenses; several years of tax returns; wheat producer’s certificates; various other documents relating to the operation of the farm; school assignments and certificates; high school exams; college notes and certificates; and bond certificates. There is also a Farmer’s Manual from 1895, in which Joseph Girling kept seeding and plowing notes from 1903-1977, and a booklet from 1940 entitled “How I Farm” that contains essays and farming tips provided by Manitoba farmers, including Raymond Girling.

Restrictions on Use: There are no restrictions on this material

Accruals: No further accruals to this fonds are expected.

Finding Aid Available: