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  • Writer's pictureTimothée Beaulieu

Detective Eliot Stabler Is Franco-American And We're Loving It

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

Folks, 2021 has been off to a rocky start. The vaccine for the plague is rolling out slowly, the Montreal Impact are now the Club de Feet, and lots of fun cultural events remain in Zoom jail.


Even with all that sad stuff, every so often we get a win. Ladies and Gentlemen/Mesdames et Messieurs we got him – Detective Eliot Stabler is a Franco-American!


Meloni as Detective Stabler with Mariska Hargitay as Detective Benson on Law and Order SVU

This is huge news. For those of you who don’t know “Detective Stabler” is a former character on the massively popular Law and Order SVU. The character is played by Franco-American, Christopher Meloni. You read that right, FRANCO-AMERICAN. Who knew?


Stabler is out there solving crimes and saving NYC with the blood of New France coursing through his veins. How can that not give you chills?


Meloni playing Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in the movie "42." Leo is a fellow Franco-American.

Of course, with a name like Meloni, he isn’t just Franco. He has a really amazing Italian-American success story too, but let’s focus on our little victory here.


As discussed on the wonderful program Finding your Roots, Christopher is a descendent of Mathias Farnsworth. Sounds super British right? Story over….just kidding.

Mathias was an English colonist who was captured during an Abenaki raid and brought to the lands of New France as a prisoner. What would become of old Mathias?


Lucky for him and fans of Law and Order, French Catholic priests bought his freedom. It seems like part of the deal was that Mathias would become French and be part of New France Society. He ends up changing his name to Phaneuf and having a ton of land on the island of Montreal. He lived a pretty great life in New France a few hundred years before poutine was a thing.


*This blog marks the time in pre and after poutine PP/AP.


Do Christopher’s Franco roots end there? No, of course not. Let’s fast forward about 30 years give or take before poutine.


His mother Cecile Chagnon Meloni was born in Berlin, New Hampshire, in 1926. How did that happen? The Quebec diaspora of course!


Her father immigrated to the US in 1920 and worked in the Berlin Paper Mills. Sweet baby St. Jean, Stabler really is one of us!


Cecile was the valedictorian of her Rivier College class, went on to Georgetown medical school, and had an active medical career.


Talk about a Franco-American success story. From the mills to Georgetown to Hollywood in a very short period of time.


While our history is full of some pretty tragic stories of life in the mill and language loss, every so often you’ll see a story like this. You have to stop and celebrate it.


For more on Berlin's Franco-American Story check out Query the Past by Dr. Patrick Lacroix. He was a big help with our post: http://querythepast.com/other-franco-americans-berlin-nh-part-1/



* We know Club de Foot Montréal is the proper name for the MLS franchise in Montréal. We are not ready to accept it yet. We are supporters of 1642MTL and the various supporter groups of IMFC. Not too late to go back...


Oh and Stabler is back:




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6 Comments


favco
Jun 09, 2023

Chris and I share the same great grandfather, Edmond Chagnon. The first Chagnon to come to Canada was part of the Carignan Regiment. Farnsworth connection is with Lydia Blanchard, Edmond’s wife. Our grandfathers were brothers...mine the oldest and his, the youngest....his mother, Cecile, a first cousin to my mom...a wonderful, strong, very Catholic woman who always spoke in French with my mom.

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Barbara Boutette
Barbara Boutette
Apr 22, 2021

The episode made me realize things about my own tree, as I am descended from Claude Matthias also, and so is Jim Carrey, I understand, but you probably already knew that. Thank you for your blog. It's very informative.😊

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Timothée Beaulieu
Timothée Beaulieu
Feb 20, 2021

Quick clarification - we are huge supporters of 1642MTL and IMFC. We know what the new Montreal MLS name is. However, we still aren't sold on it.

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Dominique Ritchot
Dominique Ritchot
Feb 20, 2021

Correction: Montreal Impact are now the Club de Foot de Montréal. AKA CFMTL

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Timothée Beaulieu
Timothée Beaulieu
Feb 18, 2021

Other Franco episodes!


https://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/watch/extras/patricia-arquette-from-france-to-canada


https://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/about/meet-our-guests/chlo%C3%AB-sevigny

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