For what it’s worth, my friend Godfrey Sponneck (who also at times styles himself Reichsgraf Gottfried von Sponeck), who has in the past belonged to IAAH, is descended from a family of three brothers and a sister who were simultaneously ennobled by the Holy Roman Emperor (I have his book at home, and am at work, so I cannot give the date).
They were originally untitled nobility from Silesia surnamed Von Hedwiger.
The sister mentioned was the morganatic wife of a duke of Württemberg, who also was duke of Montbeliard (known in German as Mömpelgard) in France. The Burg Sponeck on the Rhine (then an enclave in the Margravate of Baden, and later part of Baden) was held by the House of Württemberg as a crossing point between the two realms.
As I mentioned they were ennobled and styled Reichsgraf (in the case of the sister, Reichsgräfin) von Sponeck.
In this family, as in many others of similar nobility, the title descends to all male descendants, as well as to daughters who cannot pass it on to their descendants. Godfrey has two daughters, whom he refers to as Reichsgräfinnen, but whose descendants cannot use the title.
An ancestor of Godfrey’s took service with the King of Denmark (as an army general) and was additionally given the Danish title Rigsgreve af Sponneck by the Danish Crown.
The South African branch of the family originated in Denmark.
The Von Sponeck coat of arms is an interesting historical gloss, as its first and fourth quarters show the ancient Von Hedwiger arms, gules a lion rampant or.
The second and third quarters are an augmentation of honour by the Holy Roman Emperor that recalls a deed of bravery by an ancestor during the Siege of Vienna. He apparently swam the Danube and returned with a Turk’s head.
There are also separate crests, one representing the house of Von Hedwiger and the other reflecting the augmentation.
When I have a chance I will ask Godfrey to post an image of these arms on IAAH.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.