Finding Aid (pdf file*)
Index (huge .xls file)
Index (large webpage)


Reaves Family Files: Series I

About 1990, Mr. Reaves began the unbelievable task of typing up his family files. This required putting the newspaper clippings and other items he had collected for a particular surname in chronological order and then typing the text of the articles. He did not make any attempt to separate families with the same surname, therefore, it is up to the researcher to use the information to the best advantage. In many cases he typed the entire text of the article; in other cases he typed a summary. He added many cross references to other files. He then indexed the entire file. As he typed a file he gave it to the North Carolina Room. Mr. Reaves died in 2000, having completed over 900 individual family files. Hundreds more files are still in the form of clippings sorted by family name - and additional clippings for the files he had previously typed accumulated in many cases as the clipping project continued during and after individual files were typed.

In 2003, J. Kenneth Davis, Jr., of Wilmington, arranged by surname the voluminous Reaves Collection of family files that Mr. Reaves had chronologically arranged and typed, and the Old New Hanover Genealogical Society paid to have the files copied and bound. The final product, Reaves Family Files: Series I, consists of 81 volumes and thousands of pages of great genealogical value. Some families (the King family for example) have two, three or four files and fill an entire book. Other families have fewer than five pages. Most files fall somewhere in between. Mr. Reaves did not make any attempt to separate families with the same surname, therefore, it is up to the researcher to use the information to the best advantage.

Mr. Davis prepared an excellent index for the 900+ surnames of the collection. It includes the surname, the dates covered in the file, and the number of pages in the file. The number of pages is detailed as to file pages, index pages and miscellaneous pages. The miscellaneous pages could include cross-referenced information, business advertisements and newspaper photos. Note that index posted here is for the Surnames only and does not include the every name index included in many of the individual surname files.

Mr. Reaves had separate files for African-American families because he used these records to help compile his major 1998 work, Strength Through Struggle: The Chronological and Historical Record of the African-American Community in Wilmington, NC, 1865-1950. Shortly before his death he began typing these files, therefore, the A - C names are heavily represented in the Reaves Family Files: Series I African-American books. There are about 90 surname files sorted chronologically, typed and indexed in this series, bound in four volumes.

Be aware that it is not always evident in a clipping that a family or individual named is - or is not - African-American and for completeness sake both parts of Series I should be examined by the researcher.

Series I Sample Pages

Series I Family File Surname Index

Series I African-American Family File Surname Index

Reaves Series I - Page

Reaves Series I - 81 Volumes

To Order a copy of a Reaves Collection Family File, Series I
1- Determine if a file exists using the online Indexes above.
2- Determine the total number of pages, include index and miscellaneous pages.
3- Determine the cost: $.25 per page plus $2.00 for shipping and handling.
4 - Mail your check, payable to the New Hanover County Public Library, to:
      North Carolina Room, NHCPL, 201 Chestnut St., Wilmington, NC 28401.

The Library staff regrets that limited resources prevent search by the staff of individual indexes for particular names. Visitors to the Library may access these volumes and may make copies of pages of interest at the usual copying charge.