In line with many dynasties, origin and beginning of the Hohenzollern dynasty is not defined in history. In 1061 the first documented mention was in the “World Chronicle“. Monk Berthold of the Abbey in Reichenau stated that both brothers Wezil and Burchardus ”de Zolorin” were killed in battle. Likewise “Zollern“, i.e.”Hohenzollern“, a designation from the 14th century is not distinctly determined. It may derive from the Latin language ”mons solarius“, ” sun mountain“, or from “ Söller“, an open accessible room on the upper floor of a building. In each case it relates to the 855 m high, cone shaped mountain of the Swabian Alb, location for the ancestral seat of the dynasty.
At the end of the 12th century Count Frederick III of Zollern got married and attained the rank Burggrave of Nuremberg. Due to the geographical distance of the ancestral seats, his two sons divided the inheritance at the beginning of the 13th century. The family split into two still existing main lines of the Hohenzollern dynasty: the Swabian line and Franconian line, later Brandenburg-Prussian line which was given the rights of election of the Mark Brandenburg in 1411/15. This line created Prussian Kings in 1701, followed by the German Emperors in 1871.
In 1534 the South German line was divided into Hohenzollern-Haigerloch-, Hechingen- and Sigmaringen lines. Since 1869 the Sigmaringen line still exists today. In 1623 the Swabian Hohenzollern dynasty was elevated to the rank of Princes. As a result of the 1848 revolution, they abdicated in favour of their powerful kinship in Berlin and from then on the ancestral seats appertained to Prussia. The following reconstruction of the ancestral Castle ruin was however carried out jointly and until today the Hohenzollern Castle is property of both family lines.