Outsiders—some traveling to a possible place of employment or refuge and some wandering as vagabonds with an eye on the main chance—were a constant presence in early modern Europe. But their stories are faint to nonexistent in most of the archival records available to historians. Such records illuminate the lives of the permanent, rooted, populations but rarely reveal much about those who stood outside the local communities through which they passed on their journeys. Analysis of a large, unusual data set compiled in the small Dutch city of Franeker in the mid-seventeenth century, however, uncovers the circumstances and motives of poor travelers and indigent wayfarers who passed through the city, providing a glimpse into the lives of a population otherwise largely hidden.

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