«In my home town I have». Migrant women and multilocal
ties (17th-18th centuries)
The aim of this article is to explore the multi-local ties generated in the modern period by migrant women who maintained contact with their families in their hometowns and who continued to own possessions there, even many years after migration. While research on transnational families in contemporary societies has often concentrated on the working class, the investigations of these relations in the modern period have essentially focused on the élite of the mobile population, such as merchants and aristocratic families. In this way, the multilocal familial ties of those who actually constituted the vast majority of migratory flows in the cities of the Ancient regime, namely the labor migrants, have been largely overlooked. The first part of the article analyzes familial relations at a distance and family reunification as the motivating factors behind migration in early modern Rome. In the second part, the article discusses the cases of women owning goods that were sometimes located quite far from the cities where they lived, investigating how this double horizon manifested itself in written wills. The fact that these women maintained multi-local kinship and networks casts doubts on the notion of integration as the loss of contact with one’s hometown (a notion rooted in the concept of cultural assimilation developed by the Chicago school), highlighting instead that for many migrants the reference space remained a double one, better captured by the notion of simultaneity.