How I Found My Mom’s Long-Lost Kingdom!

We stopped over in Makeni, Sierra Leone the night before my Temne Kingdom naming ceremony. Earlier that day we had watched the Mende naming ceremony of some of my friends on the trip.
Nothing could prepare me for the joyful and spirited welcome that my Temne kingdom had waiting for us as we stepped off of the bus to meet my Temne village in Mile 91, Yonibana, Sierra Leone, for the first time. Wow!
My Temne kingdom welcome home ceremony is like nothing I’ve ever experienced!
Entering the Temne village as only the descendants of this kingdom could! The warmest welcome home after centuries of separation!
Temne Kingdom home-coming celebration continues……
More Temne Kingdom celebrations…..
The Temne women filled the village with their joyous songs, dance, and music. The ceremonial drum cadence felt natural as if our souls already had these beats within us.
They marched the men back to the back of the village to prepare for our Temne naming ceremony!
What came next was quite the surprise and a true honor! I along with 3 of my African American brothers from the USA were given our Temne names and made Chiefs of our Temne Chiefdom! My Temne name is Pa Kapri O’loya meaning “Village lawyer, and spokesman, defender of the chiefs and chiefdom; he who resolves conflicts.” This was an incredible moment in time that I will never forget. On behalf of my 4th great-grandmother Charlotte Johnson (b. 1808, Washington, D.C.) and her maternal ancestor who was stolen from this Temne village 400 years ago, I was overjoyed to have returned home to accept this honor, my new Temne name and role of a village Chief.
After receiving our Temne names, we were to begin our march to the main ceremony pavillion to meet with the rest of the village.
The Temne men marched us over to the main ceremony meeting place within the village. We were so proud and honored to be welcomed home in our ancestral kingdom. Listen to the sounds of the brotherhood!
Alas we are united with the entire village including our Temne sisters who were also given Temne names. A Temne kingdom welcome that I could only imagine until now!
Several of us expressed interest in land and the Chiefs showed us where we would be offered land for those of us who have expressed interest!

Olevy “Oliver” Helaire

This is the story of my 2x great uncle, Olevy Helaire.  I was inspired to learn and write about him because he was such a mystery to my family.  Our family never knew much about him and we have never seen a picture.  In fact, the only reason that I know of his existence is from my grandmother who is now 105 years old, Elvira Helaire-Davis.  She once told me when I was a child that her father, Felix Helaire, had a brother in New Orleans – her uncle Oliver Helaire, as she referred to him.   Over the years, I recall seeing his name listed in a couple of family genealogy records; but nothing more than a reference to his birth and him as a child in one of the census records.  Beyond this, no one has been able to provide any information about the life of my 2x great uncle Olevy “Oliver” Helaire, until now.  I dedicate this story of my dear ancestor to my grandmother Mrs. Elvira Helaire Davis, my late mother, Mrs. Girther Lee Davis Strong, my Aunt Jeannie Davis, and my mother’s first cousin Olevia Helaire, for whom, I suspect, he was named after our ancestor, 2x great uncle, Olevy “Oliver” Helaire (ref. Henry Helaire Sr.)   

Strong Genealogy by Yokota D. Strong

I created this site so that I can begin to document my own ancestry research as well as the amazing journey that have led to amazing discoveries and significant family connections. At Strong Genealogy, I have an opportunity to build on the ancestry, historical and family connections to work within my own family and others to continue the legacies of our ancestors.

Simply put, Strong-Gen specializes in helping families network and build on their ancestry in order to further their family’s legacies together.

Why Is This Important?

  • Because it gives honor and dignity to our ancestors whose stories have been so often vanished over time
  • Because it gives meaning and a sense of pride to the living descendants to have an opportunity to improve upon and make a better world than the one that our ancestors lived.

I decided to take this passion to the public because I know there are many others who share the same passion. I know there are those who are passionate about connecting their family and would love to build on their family legacy, but have no idea where to start.

If you are interested in learning about my discoveries and some of the ways I am connecting ancestry to build on family legacies, please continue to follow my blog!

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