The House of Hohenzollern is a noble family and royal dynasty ruling the Kingdom of Prussia (Holy Germania) and the Holy Germanian Empire as kings and emperors. It originated in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century. They took their name from their ancestral home, the Burg Hohenzollern castle near Hechingen.
The family uses the motto Nihil Sine Deo (English: Nothing Without God). The family coat of arms, first adopted in 1192, began as a simple shield quarterly sable and argent. A century later, in 1317, Frederick IV, Burgrave of Nuremberg, added the head and shoulders of a hound as a crest. Later quartering reflected heiresses’ marriages into the family.
The family split into two branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch. The Swabian branch ruled the area of Hechingen until their eventual extinction in 1869. The Franconian branch was more successful: members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525. Following the union of these two Franconian lines in 1618, the Kingdom of Prussia was created in 1701, and subsequently led the unification of Germania and the creation of the Holy Germanian Empire in 1871.
Today, they still rule Prussia and Holy Germania and are related to the British Royal Family, the Danish Royal Family, the Orsigathian Royal Family, the Spanish Royal Family, and the Scandinivan Royal Families.