In this publication emphasis is laid on the modern definition of the family Polypodiaceae (Filicales), which is based on an extensive study of Recent material and which is much restricted with respect to older circumscriptions of the family as usually applied by palaeobotanists. Fossils of fems belonging to the family in the strict sense are extremely rare and those examined do not bear any spores suitable for study. Of the fossils attributed to the family in its traditional, large sense, only a small minority belongs to the family in its strict sense. A survey of the few polypodiaceous fossils known to the author is given together with a list of non-polypodiaceous fossils that usually (sometimes tentatively) have been referred to the family Polypodiaceae.