The genes encoding the kininogenase, glandular tissue kallikrein, in rodents and man were first described in the mid-1980s. Remarkably, they appeared to be part of a much larger highly conserved family of genes (GK) in rodents, but only had two paralogs in man. This discrepancy was not rectified until the late 1990s/2000 with the identification of a cluster of 12 more kallikrein-related (KLK) genes in the human 19q13 locus and the subsequent identification of their rodent homologs. Interestingly, there are remarkable similarities in expression patterns, hormonal regulation and functional attributes of the old (GK) and new (KLK) families which underscore the evolutionary conservation across these loci and species. This historical perspective focuses on the lessons learned from earlier studies on the rodent GK gene families and the striking similarities of some attributes, yet uniqueness, of others. These earlier findings have all contributed to the current status of the KLK serine peptidase-encoding gene family as an exciting source of new biomarkers and therapeutic targets.