This is a historical account of the development of the concept frontotemporal dementia, beginning with our discovery in the late 60s of a simple degenerative form. It was named frontal lobe degeneration of non-Alzheimer type to clearly separate it from the then almost totally dominating diagnosis Alzheimer disease. In the absence of immunohistochemical methods for specific disease markers, we had to rely solely on structural features. Later, from the 80s, the successively introduced methods to show glial acidic protein, tau, synaptophysin, ubiquitin, and other markers confirmed our impression of a simple type of degeneration. These methods also added further forms with additional features, and from the 90s genetics has contributed new disease characteristics, all these advances leading up to the present conceptual structure of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.