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When two siblings grow up with parents fascinated by family history, you get Unlock Your History, pairing linguistic and genealogy expertise.
Unlock Your History launched in 2017, specializing in translation of Germanic languages, helping others discover what is locked in their family letters, postcards, certificates, diaries, wills and more.


Family. History. Exploration. Discovery.

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Pamela Israel grew up surrounded by a family immersed in genealogy. After years in the corporate and start-up worlds, she spoke to her linguist brother and brought these interests together.

A trained genealogist, she focuses on Pennsylvania and Germanic areas. Of course, people moved all over, and she follows the research where it takes her, including Germany, England, Canada and throughout the United States.

Pamela researches and speaks frequently on the intersection of family artifacts, history and genealogy. She is a member of numerous genealogical associations, including the Association of Professional Genealogists. Certificates include ProGen, Boston University's Genealogical Research Program and GenProof. She is president and the Archives Chair of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society (WPGS).


Languages. History. German. Family.

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Stefan Israel picked up the old German form of cursive as a teenager and started translating old family letters in German and Danish back as a college student.  He majored in German, and went on to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor in Germanic Linguistics, focused on German and its dialects, Dutch, and Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. 

Stefan's years abroad have included southern Bavaria, Freiburg near the French and Swiss borders, Kiel in northern Germany and Schleswig near the Danish border, as well as Finland and Iceland. Stefan relishes the particular challenge of handwriting and language from centuries past.  He has worked specifically as a translator since 2002.  And he enjoys it greatly.

Us: Pam
Us: Stef
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