Natalocal Residence

Natalocal residence is structured by a rule that, upon marriage, both the husband and wife continue to reside with their families of origin. Children usually reside with the mother and remain in their natal household throughout their lives.

Natalocal Residence, Stage I

In the initial stages of household development a sister (A) and brother (B) get married, but each resides in their original household as do their mates.

Natalocal Residence, Stage II

In the next generation A's children continue reside with their mother, and B's children stay in his wife's household.

Natalocal Residence, Stage III.

The basic pattern is repeated in the next generation.

The main outcome of the natalocal rule is that both males and females of the same lineage continue to reside in a common residential unit. This pattern is quite uncommon and is almost always found in matrilineal societies, since it allows children to continue to reside with their mother and remain in a lineage residence at the same time.

The exclusion of husband's and wive's from each other's household imposes obvious problems for conceiving and raising a family. The Nayar solution is almost total dismissal of fatherhood and the assignment of male auhority to brothers and mother's brothers. Among the Akan, where natalocality is practiced along with alternative residence rules, settlements are concentrated into relative large towns, so husbands and wives live within easy walking distance and regularly spend nights together in one or the other's household. Husbands and wifes also have important mutual responsibilities that place them in a common economic unit but one which has no single physical location.

© Brian Schwimmer, All rights reserved
Department of Anthropology
University of Manitoba
Created 1995
Last updated: October 2003