Accurate and timely diagnosis of inherited bone marrow failure and inherited myelodysplastic syndromes is essential to guide clinical management. Distinguishing inherited from acquired bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome poses a significant clinical challenge. At present, diagnostic genetic testing for inherited bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome is performed gene-by-gene, guided by clinical and laboratory evaluation. We hypothesized that standard clinically-directed genetic testing misses patients with cryptic or atypical presentations of inherited bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome. In order to screen simultaneously for mutations of all classes in bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome genes, we developed and validated a panel of 85 genes for targeted capture and multiplexed massively-parallel sequencing. In patients with clinical diagnoses of Fanconi anemia, genomic analysis resolved subtype assignment, including those of patients with inconclusive complementation test results. Eight out of 71 patients with idiopathic bone marrow failure or myelodysplastic syndrome were found to harbor damaging germline mutations in GATA2, RUNX1, DKC1, or LIG4. All eight of these patients lacked classical clinical stigmata or laboratory findings of these syndromes and only four had a family history suggestive of inherited disease. These results reflect the extensive genetic heterogeneity and phenotypic complexity of bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome phenotypes. This study supports the integration of broad unbiased genetic screening into the diagnostic workup of children and young adults with bone marrow failure and myelodysplastic syndromes.