The Grossevaden (trans. Great Fathers. Sing. "Grossvade") is the honorific title granted on the precursors of the Holfolken people. They encompass the poetic and legendary origins and histories of the Holfolk since the dawn of human imagination to Earl Gesterson; though the literary observers may often cite Gesterson and his heirs as Grossvade themselves.
The Grossvaden are such a major aspect in Holfolk lore and legends it's widely enforced that a man is not a Holfolk unless he can trace his lineage to a Grossvade or to the legendary north lands of Wielebarden-Aenglie. This often leads to disputes between those attempting to make a footing as a new clan with the established landed clans or noble dynasties who would take offense. Ancestry in tracing back to a Grossvade is done through the father's line, and although bastard status is ignored legally in drafting one's Grossvade history it does produce a heavily contest area for legal and social reasons.
The history of the term in Holfolken literary and even legal usage extends for over a millenia. Though the linguistic change of the world makes it difficult to reproduce the early word from which it was born from. The current form of the term was solidified in the first writing of the early Sagas by Cuthbyrn the Meek. His early, post-migration anthology of poetic sagas illustrate the pattern and usage of the Grossvaden in the oldest and most well known sagas as using "Grossvaden" as a hero who achieved legendary, god-like status. Such heroes being Bea, Bone, or Cuthill the Wizard Slayer.
The usage of the word was broadened - or rather explored - by Aelyn Wuthrin of Cumbrary in a series of local laws detailing title and land-owning rights for the Kingdom of Cumbrary. Under the authority of then king Bristol - father of later Queen Matilda - he ordained the allowance of land to be given to those who could, "prove heritage of a Great Clan from the north lands of our Grossvaden, exemption of heritage through the maternal line".
Noble houses often cite relation to one legendary hero of the sagas, who are the foundation of the extended noble clans.
Grossvaden is often invoked in the tracing of proper lineage via proof through a List of Fathers, tracing the lineage of a man through his fathers to any one Grossvade in history. Proving one's lineage entitles a man to the right to maintain a Manor with servants and serfs, granted through obvious payment of coin or from service to a lord. This may also lead to rare cases of inheritance left collectively unclaimed if on the lineage there is any that was not claimed by the proven successor (for a variety of reason).
As well, proven lineage permits the ownership of a sigil or coat of arms to sign documents with or to mark ownership of property with, as well as a sigil to carry into battle. Promotion through the military is often done in favor of those who have a proven lineage to the Grossvaden. Similarly, it grants immunity to execution or enslavement.
With the exception of the Loyal Caleigh - whose fathers surrendered to Earl Gesterson - lineage deems the man fit for rule over a fief larger than a manor as candidate of a permanent - non-tributarian - territory should his liege-lord sees fit.
Having a proven lineage does not however ensure you to be the next in line for land inheritance in the off chance a Caleigh or non-Holfolk is next in line for inheritance, but has proven to be an element of favor in minor landing disputes and clan-conflicts.
As well as the above, other terms are tied informally to Grossvaden. These being:
Dócincelson - Bastard Son, a man attempting to prove his lineage to a Grossvade through illegitimate parentage.
Schiesseagend - Shit Lord. A man whose attempt at proving his lineage has failed in legal or armed dispute.