Hi Pat, Dick Thoms was my grandmother - Elnora Ethel (Toms) Mills', brother. The TOMS surname was changed to THOMS sometime around 1890 but I have no idea why. I do know that their were other THOMS (of German descent) in the Meeker Co., MN area that were no relation to my TOMS, so maybe the spelling of the name go changed by census takers, etc. I do not find it was perpously changed by any legal means.
Ira (Dick) Herbert THOMS, I believe, married Josephine Mergan after 1931 - when his first wife, Cicelia, died. I don't have an exact date of their marriage. Dick was -b: 13-June-1874 in the Darwin area (then Swan Lake Twp., now Dassel Twp.) of Meeker Co., MN. I have that Josephine was born ca 1888, so Dick was 14 years her senior. I don't know if Dick and Josephine had children or not but I don't have any listed for them in my records. As far as I know Dick and Cicelia Thoms had only two children - a Percy Thoms -b: ca 1896 and a Gertrude Toms - b: 1899. My records also show that Dick changed from the Church of God faith to the Catholic faith when he married Cicelia and Josephine may have already been Catholic when they married, and they are all three buried in the St Anthony's Catholic church cemetery in Watkins, MN. Dick's parents were both Ministers of the Church of God - Minnesota Conference so their may have been a family parting of the ways for a while, because of this change of faith. Dick and Cicelia lived in Mpls, Hennipen Co., MN after they married and he was listed as a Teamster with a "Transfer Co." on the 1920 MN census records. That could have meant RailRoad employee, as you suggested. Dick died ca 1952 and Josephine ca 1966 and I believe they were living in Watkins at that time. I have one picture of them together and the caption says "Dick and Josephine at their home in Watkins", but no date." I sure would be interested in a bit of Josephine's family history if you care to share it and I can do the same on Dick's side. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org Do you live in MN?? Judy Boie