The Schwerin family have held the title of Margraf von Ober Nord Westfalen, since the 13th Century, or so they claim.
The family motto is "Virtute et Armis" - "By Virtue and Arms" and is borne as a label on all military badges, colours, standards and guidons together with the family achievement of arms on all diplomatic communications.
The ancestral seat, "der Alte Schloss", was destroyed by fire in 1507, and was replaced by "Schloss Neuhaus", completed in 1519 and modernised by succeeding Margrafen throughout the last three hundred years.
Some Interesting snippets:
Albrecht I never expected to assume the title, the heir apparent was his cousin Josef-Wilhelm. Unfortunately Josef-Wilhelm was killed in a hunting accident. An extensive enquiry was made into who fired the fatal shot, but no conclusive proof was ever found. However, suspicion fell on one Walther von Tyrol, from the Swiss Cantons, but he left for his native land before he could be examined.
Albrecht at this time, was completing his education at the University of Cambridge in England, where he became friendly with the young Viscount Desford, heir to the Earldom of St Erth in Lincolnshire. During his visits to the Eardom, Albrecht met Desford's younger sister Arabella, and, it being thought a splendid match by both families, they married in 1681. Although the marriage was happy, there was no sign of an heir for nearly ten years when sadly, in 1690, the Margrafin Arabella miscarried her first pregnancy and then succumbed to "a putrefaction of the womb".
Albrecht was devastated, and even after the year of mourning was ended reacted very badly to any suggestion that he might remarry. This state of affairs continued until his 43rd year, when on a state visit to Prague, he was captivated by the much younger Countess Katerina Proskova. His proposal of marriage was accepted, and despite concerns over the Countess' catholicism, the wedding took place in January 1700. The Landrat (Council) of ONW, were very concerned over the religious aspects, as they feared an eruption of "Romish superstition" and a return to heretic burning, trial by ordeal and other horrors that they imagined.
Their fears were groundless, the young Margrafin announced her rejection of Rome and wholeheartedly embraced Lutheranism.
There can be no doubt that the couple were very happy, the Margrafin over the years, presented Albrecht with no less than 14 children - alas all but one were girls! However, in the overall scheme of things, Albrecht was not displeased, as a plethora of young women, all blessed with their mother's beauty enabled him to negotiate some very favourable alliances cemented by marriage!