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Milestone Favorites: Language, History & Tips

Updated: Mar 9

We launched Unlock Your History over five years ago. What a milestone! In looking back at our blog journal, we see some write-ups that our newer visitors likely haven't read and some classic ones that our old readers might have forgotten or missed. Check out some of our favorites.


German in the Cemetery - You might run across gravestones with German writing. It can be great for genealogy, but it also helps know a few key words.

Clues Hidden in Von & Van - Perhaps signs of nobility? An indication of German versus Dutch heritage? A place name? Maybe yes, and often no to all. Read on.

Most Americans see the letter ß and immediately think "Aha - German!" but what's the backstory? Check it out.

Confused by the Ups and Downs of High and Low German (and more) and the numerous dialects?

The Twins from Two Different Countries - Photo
The Twins from Two Different Countries

The Twins from Two Different Countries - A curious story about twin brothers who grew up happily together yet claimed German heritage and the other Danish. It's a lesson on the importance of understanding the history of changing borders to understand your ancestors.

Imperial Cities of the Holy Roman Empire - a brief history of imperial cities, from dozens in the middle ages to today's three: Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck.


Do you have any German, Danish, Dutch, Swedish or Norwegian documents you can't read?

Stumped on your family tree?

We can help. Find out more here.


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