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In most cultures with avunculate customs in the sense used by anthropologists, such a marriage would violate incest taboos governing relations between members of the same matrilineal lineage.
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Franz Boas categorized various avunculate arrangements based on the location of residence in 1922.
Alfred Radcliffe-Brown identified the Tsonga (Ba Thonga) of Mozambique, the Tongans of the Pacific, and the Nama of Namibia as avunculate societies as early as 1924.
In the Southwest United States, the Apache tribe practices a form of this, where the uncle is responsible for teaching the children social values and proper behavior while inheritance and ancestry is reckoned through the mother's family alone.
Modern day influences have somewhat but not completely erased this tradition.
This relationship can be formal or informal, depending on the society. According to the Kazakh common law, the avunculate nephews could take anything from the relatives of the mother up to three times.
Early anthropological research focused on the association between the avunculate and matrilineal descent, while later research has expanded to consider the avunculate in general society. In the Kyrgyz past a nephew, at a feast at his maternal uncle or grandfather, could take any horse from their herd or any delicacy.
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81 Ethnologists describe under the heading of avunculate the customs regulating in an altogether special way the relations of a nephew to his maternal uncle. The anthropological term "avunculocal residence" refers to this convention, which has been identified in about 4% of the world's societies.