Previously we have shown that a high proportion (5%‐15%) of peritoneal Ly‐1+ B cells that bind the common membrane phospholipid, phosphatidylcholine, express either of two VH genes. One of these genes, CH34VH, belongs to the recently described VH11 family, whereas the other VH gene, CH27VH, is reported here to belong to a new, single‐member family which we designate VH12. We have characterized these new VH families in terms of strain polymorphism, map position relative to nine other VH gene families, and frequency of expression in polyclonally stimulated splenic B cell populations. We find that VH11 and VH12 genes are expressed at frequencies similar to the VH genes of other families in the spleen, and that these genes are not located among the J‐proximal VH segments which are preferentially expressed during early development. These results suggest that the VH11 and VH12 genes are not preferentially rearranged, and support our earlier studies which suggested that the high frequency of VH11 and VH12 expression among peritoneal Ly‐1 B cells is due to antigen selection.