Keanu Reeves Family History


The actor Keanu Charles Reeves was born on September 2nd, 1964 to Samuel and Patricia Reeves in Beirut.  Samuel abandoned his wife and family three years later.  Keanu last met his father on the Hawaiian island of Kauai when he was thirteen.

His mother Patricia raised her two children mostly on her own. As a single mother, she had to move from one city to another in order to find work as a costume designer for rock stars.  They lived in Australia and New York for short periods before moving to Toronto in Canada.  Keanu, his sister Kim, and later his two half sisters grew up in its Yorkville neighbourhood, with a nanny caring for them often.

Keanu’s teenage years in Toronto were troubled and he dropped out of high school when he was seventeen.  However, his step-father Paul Aaron – a Broadway and Hollywood director – took him under his wing, helped him get a US green card, and facilitated his move to America.

Keanu made his acting debut in 1986 and had established himself as a major film actor by the early 1990’s.  His big breakthrough to mega-stardom came with the release of the sci-fi film The Matrix in 1999.

Keanu Reeves’ Ethnicity

His maternal line is simple.  His mother Patricia was born in Hampshire in 1944 and has English heritage.

His paternal line is more complicated.  His American father was from Hawaii where his grandmother was Portuguese on her father’s side and a mix of Chinese and Hawaiian on her mother’s.  Because of his grandmother’s ethnicity, Keanu grew up in Toronto with Chinese art, furniture, and cuisine.

Going further back, there was Irish blood in there, through his great great grandmother Mary Nowlin; whilst the first of his line in America came from England and married and had children by a Native American woman.

What a shame that, because of his father’s abandonment of the family, Keanu has generally been kept apart from the rich tapestry of this family history.  For a time Keanu did visit Hawaii and meet with his cousins and grandmother there.  But those visits ended when Keanu was in his teens.

North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama

The first of the line in America was William Reeves, originally Rives, born around 1680 in Albemarle, Virginia.  This William was a landowner who initially amassed property in Virginia and then in the early 1700’s in the Chowan district of North Carolina.  His first wife, whom he married in 1701, was a Native American Tuscarora woman, by whom he had eight children.  He died in Granville county, North Carolina in 1751.

One line of these Reeves, with the Rev. Jeremiah Reeves, migrated south to Georgia in 1784.  Other Reeves remained in North Carolina until the 1830’s.

Sampson Witt Reeves, the youngest of Jack and Rachel’s nine children, was born in White county, Tennessee in 1839.  His family later moved to Alabama where Sampson enlisted in the Confederate army at the time of the Civil War.  In 1867 he married Mary Nowlin, a descendant of Irish Nowlins who had come to Virginia around the year 1700.

Hawaii – Paradise and Hell

Charles Reeves, born in 1868 and Sampson’s eldest son, was the adventurer of the family.  Working as an electrician in Tennessee was something that grew old on him. This prompted him to leave Tennessee for Hawaii in 1897 in search of new work and new experiences.

The new experiences included meeting and marrying Rose Lokalia Miguel, half Portuguese and half Chinese Hawaiiian, in Honolulu in 1903.  This act so enraged his father that he promptly disowned him and termed her “a savage.”

Their nine-acre homestead tract, acquired in 1912, was in Kuli’ou’ou Valley outside of Honolulu.  Charles was an electrician for the Honolulu police and fire alarm systems from 1909 until his death in 1927 at the age of fifty-nine.  Rose outlived him by many years, dying in 1977 at the age of ninety-one.

In the 1940’s she saw to it that each of her nine children received one acre of the homestead land.  Today 29 families in 26 homes still reside within the nine-acre tract – a virtual one-family village.  Since 1993 they have organized their own Kuli’ou’oulympics, an annual family festival presided over (until 2008) by Auntie Sister, the matriarch of the family.

Samuel Reeves, Keanu’s father, grew up in this paradise.   He was twenty-two when Keanu was born abroad in 1964.  He gave him a traditional Hawaiian name which means literally “cool breeze over the mountains.”

After the marriage broke up three years later, Sam returned to Hawaii.  Two further failed marriages followed.  He was barely making a living as a farmer.  Dragged down by debt and a drug addiction, he began importing Mexican heroin and cocaine in the 1990’s.  In 1992 he served two years in prison of a ten year sentence for selling heroin at Honolulu’s airport.

Sam died in Hawaii in 2018, estranged from his family and children there.  Neither Keanu nor his sister Kim attended his funeral.

Keanu Reeves’ Family Line

  • William Rives or Reeves (1680-1751) from Albemarle, Virginia m. Martha, a Native American Tuscarora wife, in 1701
  • – William Reeves (1710-1760) m. Hardy
  • – James Reeves (1713-1781)
  • – Isaac Reeves (1719-1790)
  • – Malachi Reeves (1720-1784) m. Elizabeth Mnu
  • – Sarah Reeves (b. 1722) m. Robert Hicks
  • – plus three other children
  • James Reeves m. Millicent Chappell (1709-1775) in North Carolina
  • – Rev. Jeremiah Reeves (1738-1806) m. Jane Beville and moved to Georgia
  • – Malachi Reeves (1739-1784)
  • – Judith Reeves (1743-1846) m. Simon Moon
  • – William Reeves (1752-1816) m. Hannah Rhodes
  • Malachi Reeves (1739-1784) m. Fortune Burton (1739-1801) in North Carolina
  • – Jesse Reeves (1760-1816) m. Sarah Goodman
  • – Martha Reeves (b. 1763)
  • – Sidney Reeves (1766-1830)
  • – Richard Reeves (1770-1860)
  • Sidney Reeves m. Elizabeth Wells (1766-1861) in North Carolina in 1785
  • – Jackson Reeves (1790-1843)
  • – Malachi Reeves (1792-1834) m. Barbara Glance
  • – Sarah Reeves (1795-1868) m. David Eaton
  • – Elizabeth Reeves (1795-1872) m. Charles Wood
  • – Mary Reeves (1800-1889) m. Abraham Eaton
  • Jackson (Jack) Reeves m. Rachel Ratcliff (1792-1883) in North Carolina in 1812
  • – John Reeves (1813-1886) m. Rebecca Queen
  • – Larkin Reeves (1816-1899) m. Mary Jones
  • – Gilbert Reeves (1818-1867) m. Rebecca Harmon
  • – Louisa Reeves (1820-1901) m. John Piott
  • – Sarah Reeves (1822-1871) m. Jamison Hall
  • – Albert Reeves (1825-1905)
  • – Mincher Reeves (1830-1905)
  • – Jane Reeves (1832-1910)
  • – Sampson Reeves (1839-1917)
  • Sampson Witt Reeves from Tennessee m. Mary Nowlin (1852-1896) in 1867
  • – Charles Reeves (1868-1927)
  • – William (Willie) Reeves (1870-1890)
  • Charles Armistead Reeves from Tennessee m. Rose Lakalia Miguel (1884-1977) in Hawaii in 1903
  • – Charles Reeves (1904-1945) m. Jane Kalua Jarrett and moved to California
  • – William Reeves (1905-1950) m. Henrietta St. Clair; their daughter was Naomi Correa nee Reeves aka Auntie Sister (1927-2008)
  • – Joseph Reeves (1907-1987) m. Rose Bertelmann
  • – Henry Reeves (1910-1952) m. Rose Simerson
  • – Elizabeth Reeves (1915-1993)
  • – Abigail Reeves (1918-1990)
  • – Lucy Reeves (1919-1986) m. Oliver Stillman (their grand-daughter Lorna was Miss Hawaii in 1984)
  • – Wallace Reeves (1919-1992) m. Eileen Benton
  • – Samuel Reeves (1921-1982)
  • Samuel Nowlin Reeves from Hawaii m. Momilani (Momi) Abrahams (1923-2014) in 1942, divorced in 1945;  rem. Betty Lou Akana (1927-1992)
  • – Samuel (Sam) Reeves (1942-2018)
  • – Victor (George) Reeves (1943-1980) m. Linda Schwenz
  • – Gill Reeves (1949-1981)
  • Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr from Hawaii m. Patricia Taylor from England (b. 1944) in Beirut in 1964, divorced in 1966.  Samuel rem. twice in Hawaii.  Patricia rem. Paul Aaron in 1970, divorced in 1971; rem. Robert Miller in 1976, divorced in 1980; rem. Jack Bond, divorced in 1994.
  • – Keanu Reeves (b. 1964 in Beirut)
  • – Kim Reeves (b. 1966 in Australia), actress
  • – Karina Miller nee Reeves, half sister, film producer
  • – Emma Reeves, half sister, film and TV writer



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Written by Colin Shelley

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