It has been generally accepted that YBa2Cu3O7−x (YBCO) films deposited on deformation textured polycrystalline metal tapes result in YBCO grain boundary (GB) networks that essentially replicate the GBs of the underlying substrate. Here we report that for thicker YBCO films produced by a BaF2 ex situ process, this is not true. Using electron backscatter diffraction combined with ion milling, we have been able to map the evolution of the YBCO grain structure and compare it to the underlying template in several coated conductors. For thin (≤0.5 μm) YBCO films deposited on rolling-assisted biaxially textured substrates (RABiTS), the YBCO GBs nearly directly overlap the substrate GBs. For 0.7–1.4 μm YBCO films, the GBs were found to meander along the substrate GBs and along the sample normal, with displacements several times the film thickness. In very thick films (2.5–2.9 μm), the YBCO grains can completely overgrow substrate grains and GBs, resulting in a substantial disconnection of the YBCO and substrate GB networks. Similar behavior is found for BaF2 ex situ YBCO films on ion-beam-assisted deposition-type templates. The ability of the YBCO to overgrow substrate grains and GBs is believed to be due to liquid-phase mediated laminar grain growth. Although the behavior of the YBCO GB networks changes with YBCO film thickness, the samples maintained high critical current density (Jc) values of >2 MA/cm2 for films up to 1.4 μm thick, and up to0.9 MA/cm2 for 2.5–2.9-μm-thick films.