The House of Hohenzollern is a noble family and royal dynasty of electors, kings and emperors of Prussia, Germany and Romania. 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 . The family coat of arms, first adopted in 1192, began as a simple shield quarterly sable and argent.
The House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen is the cadet branch of the senior Swabian branch of the Hohenzollern dynasty, less known than the Franconian branch which became Burgraves of Nuremberg and later ruled Brandenburg-Prussia and the German Empire. The state which the cadet branch ruled was the County of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, which later became a principality (Fürstentum Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen).