Left ventricular (LV) noncompaction (LVNC) is a distinct cardiomyopathy featuring a thickened bilayered LV wall consisting of a thick endocardial layer with prominent intertrabecular recesses with a thin, compact epicardial layer. Similar to hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy, LVNC is genetically heterogeneous and was recently associated with mutations in sarcomere genes. To contribute to the genetic classification for LVNC, a systematic cardiological family study was performed in a cohort of 58 consecutively diagnosed and molecularly screened patients with isolated LVNC (49 adults and 9 children). Combined molecular testing and cardiological family screening revealed that 67% of LVNC is genetic. Cardiological screening with electrocardiography and echocardiography of 194 relatives from 50 unrelated LVNC probands revealed familial cardiomyopathy in 32 families (64%), including LVNC, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy. Sixty-three percent of the relatives newly diagnosed with cardiomyopathy were asymptomatic. Of 17 asymptomatic relatives with a mutation, 9 had noncompaction cardiomyopathy. In 8 carriers, nonpenetrance was observed. This may explain that 44% (14 of 32) of familial disease remained undetected by ascertainment of family history before cardiological family screening. The molecular screening of 17 genes identified mutations in 11 genes in 41% (23 of 56) tested probands, 35% (17 of 48) adults and 6 of 8 children. In 18 families, single mutations were transmitted in an autosomal dominant mode. Two adults and 2 children were compound or double heterozygous for 2 different mutations. One adult proband had 3 mutations. In 50% (16 of 32) of familial LVNC, the genetic defect remained inconclusive. LVNC is predominantly a genetic cardiomyopathy with variable presentation ranging from asymptomatic to severe. Accordingly, the diagnosis of LVNC requires genetic counseling, DNA diagnostics, and cardiological family screening.