Eleven microsatellite loci were used to survey 24 barley genotypes representing 23 cultivars and a breeding line in official trials. Three separate combinations of four microsatellites had overall probabilities of identity of less than 1 in 1000 and could distinguish between all 24 barley genotypes. It is shown that the microsatellites could distinguish genotypes with the same pedigree and also that patterns of discrimination were different from those obtained from botanical descriptors. The stability of microsatellites across different generations was demonstrated by a retrospective analysis of the pedigree of Golden Promise. One of the parents of Maythorpe, the immediate ancestor of Golden Promise, was shown to be Irish Goldthorpe rather than Goldthorpe, thereby resolving conflicting published pedigrees.