The collection contents indicate the Thoms family lived in the area as early as 1883, with Carl and Augusta Glawe Thoms having migrated from Germany to the United States in 1872. Two of their eight children were born in Bloomington. One, Albert, married Helen O’Neil. Two Thoms family histories, compiled in 1988, discuss other family members who were acquired by marriage. In the 20th Century, various Thoms lived at 1402 S. Center Street in Bloomington. The men in the family worked for local industries, including the railroad and Oil-O-Matic.
The collection provides genealogical information about the Thoms and O’Neil families, as documented by family members. Thoms memorabilia predominate, primarily those of William Edward Thoms, who was a World War II veteran. Collection items include typescripts, church and government documents, correspondence and miscellaneous print materials.