The biostratigraphic significance of selected uppermost Famennian (Upper Devonian) and lower Tournaisian (Mississippian) brachiopod genera, belonging to the orders Rhynchonellida (e.g. Araratella), Spiriferida (e.g. Sphenospira, Prospira), Spiriferinida (Syringothyris) and Productida (except Chonetidina), is discussed. Owing to the difficulties of identifying productidine and strophalosiidine genera, in contrast to rhynchonellides and spiriferides, the biostratigraphic potential of the former has generally been overlooked. Brachiopods flourished in neritic environments that were unfavourable for conodonts and ammonoids. In the absence of the latter traditional marker fossils, they are potentially important for locating the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary in shallow water depositional settings in conjunction with rugose corals and foraminifers. On a worldwide scale, further work is required to reach a better assessment of the aftermath of the Hangenberg biological Crisis on brachiopods, notably in revising the faunas from the classical areas of the Famennian and Tournaisian stages in Western Europe.