Strangers and Neighbours
Though historians have come to acknowledge the mobility of rural populations in early modern Europe, few books demonstrate the intensity and importance of short-distance migrations as definitively as Strangers and Neighbours. Marshalling an incredible range of evidence that includes judicial records, tax records, parish registers, and the census of 1796, Jeremy Hayhoe reconstructs the migration profiles of more than 70,000 individuals from eighteenth-century northern Burgundy.
In this book, Hayhoe paints a picture of a surprisingly mobile and dynamic rural population. More than three quarters of villagers would move at least once in their lifetime; most of those who moved would do so more than once, in many cases staying only briefly in each community. Combining statistical analysis with an extensive discussion of witness depositions, he brings the experiences and motivations of these many migrants to life, creating a virtuoso reconceptualization of the rural demography of the ancien régime.