Kin Groups and Descent. The Nayars were traditionally matrilineal. The traditional Nayar taravad consisted of all the matrilineally related kin, male and female, descended from a common female ancestor, living in one large taravad house and compound. The property was held impartible, and the several members each were entitled to maintenance within the taravad house but could not claim a separate share. This has all changed since the 1930s, when partition became legally possible. A traditional taravad was composed of a woman, her children, her daughters' and her granddaughters' children, her brothers, descendants through her sisters, and her relations through her dead female ancestors. Within each taravad a significant subgroup consisted of the set of Individuals headed by a living female ancestor called a tavari. When partitions became possible, they originally occurred on tavari lines.
Kinship Terminology. Kinship terminology follows the Dravidian pattern, with the exception that kin terms traditionally were not used for paternal kin. Today, usage is completely of the Dravidian pattern with a clear distinction Between matrilateral and patrilateral kin. Mothers' sisters are called elder or younger mothers, and cross cousins are distinguished from parallel cousins, who are equated with one's own brothers and sisters.