Originally posted by AnubisXy
In my own games, there are Houses who trace their founder back to a historical figure unrelated to the Empress or to one of the First Age gens that once existed in the Realm before the rise of the Empress. These are all examples of Lesser Houses. The defining characteristic of the Great Houses is that the Empress recognized the House as such and provided it with political and social legitimacy, and the Empress pretty much only ever recognized how own descendents or those with a connection to her as such. So there are other Dragon Blooded families in the Realm, but they don't get that recognition and are generally politically inferior.
These exist in 3e as a subset of patrician families.
EDIT: To clarify, that's not a subset in the sense of being legally distinct or having separate nomenclature. It's just that some of the old Shogunate gentes survive as patrician families; it's like "old money" vs. "new money" families.