Josh Groban – Who Do You Think You Are – “A Desperate Need”

josh germany

Courtesy TLC

Josh’s new World Premier Video says it all – “I can’t regret what I did for love.”

Before you watch Josh’s TLC episode, I really encourage you to watch the trailer for Josh’s new album, Stages, in the lower right hand corner of this link.  You’ll see why.

Oh Josh, you couldn’t have known about your ancestor,  JZ, when you filmed this new song ….could you?  Did you?

It’s only fitting that Josh, one of the world’s most inspirational musicians with a voice powerful enough to touch the souls of the dead…it’s only fitting that his ancestors would be so….so….so….committed.  Devoted…and fittingly, a musician, among other amazing things.

I have to make a confession, right here and now.  This episode of Who Do You Think You Are is my favorite – ever – hands down – bar none.  And that includes any other similar programs too.

And now I have another confession to make – I’ve seen the episode already – yes – in full.

It’s a press courtesy provided by TLC to those in the media.  The good news is that I receive some pre-release info and I can share it with you.

So, when I tell you this is a wonderful can’t-miss-it-episode, take my word for it – it really is.  If you can’t see it, record it.

Josh starts in LA, where he was born, of course, but it doesn’t take long for him to find his ancestor in Pennsylvania.  You know how that works with these shows – Josh’s pedigree chart magically grows by 3 or 4 generations like a vine on steroids.  However, Josh’s Pennsylvania ancestor in question was a she, and she had young children with her when she immigrated, alone.  Where was her husband?  What happened?

The answer is – should I tell you????

Maybe not.

But, let’s say this….Josh traveled back to Germany, tracking his ancestor to the village of Bietigheim, sat in the pews of the very church where his ancestor preached.  Yes, preached.  Stood at that very lectern….oh my, the history.

josh church

Courtesy TLC

I can see Josh’s ancestor, singing, passionately singing in that church….and I can see Josh, singing the historical songs from his new album, Stages…the song from Lez Miz.  Sharing that same passion, more than 330 years and several generations removed – but still so unquestionably connected.

Then Josh climbed the rickety wooden stairs to the top of the church tower where that same ancestor, also an astronomer, saw and measured the passing of Haley’s Comet on the cold night of November 23, 1682.

josh stairs 2

Courtesy TLC

Josh’s ancestor trod these same steps on that fateful night – as he climbed to his destiny.

josh stairs

Courtesy TLC

That night changed his life – and the fate of Josh’s family.  It was that comet, that darned comet, that would unravel his mind…..

Josh visited the University where his ancestor studied, not for 4 years, but for 8 – because at that time in Germany, theology was the foundation for higher skills and studies, like math and astronomy…and music.  But God, and the church, were the foundation for everything in life.

Math and astronomy were believed at that time to be a better way of understanding God.  And music, we know it feeds the soul and was heavily incorporated into churches at that time.

But Josh’s ancestor didn’t understand God in the same way everyone else did, certainly not like the Lutheran church of the time did.  He became a rather free thinker.  And Josh’s ancestor interpreted the comet and other events to predict a rather grim future…that of cataclysmic doom.

You see, he was, what what we would call today, a “seer,” and he wrote under a pen name as such.

But then, his activities came to the attention of the church hierarchy……

If you like religious history or just a good mystery, if you had ancestors from Germany in the 17th century, if they became pietists, if you are interested in astronomy, if you love old churches – and especially, if you are a Josh Groban fan…this is a must see.

You can see and feel this ancestor in Josh today.

I think my favorite scene in this entire episode was the one where Josh was holding the actual music book his ancestor taught from.  I don’t know if Josh wanted to cry, but I surely did.

josh music book

Courtesy TLC

This made Josh very happy, gave him cold chills.

“I’m so excited to know that he was passionate about music….that he was a music teacher at the time when there were no music teachers.”

josh smile

Courtesy TLC

Josh, you definitely found your ancestor.  I wonder if there is a music gene.  You have clearly both excelled and bring the same depth of passion to everything you do.

What did Josh have to say about all of this?

Upon embarking on his journey: “I’m excited, a little scared, but excited.”

“My imagination is going wild.”  Mine was too at that point, Josh.  Whoever would have guessed???

“A desperate need.”  Things were getting dicey!

“It is a little strange, isn’t it.”

Uh, yes, to put it mildly…..that part gave me cold chills.  Wait until you see what happened in 1693, the year of the prophecy of doom.

I wonder if Josh’s ancestor ever regretted his decisions.  You’ll have to let me know what you think.  Would you like a sneak peak?  Here you go.

One thing is for sure, if JZ can see Josh today, he can see that same love of music, passion and strength of character – and he could never regret the steps that he took that led to Josh.

Don’t forget, TLC, Sunday, March 15th, at 10, 9 central.

josh playing

Courtesy TLC



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12 thoughts on “Josh Groban – Who Do You Think You Are – “A Desperate Need”

  1. I, too, have wondered about a gene for musical talent. I cannot carry a tune and neither could my father. I suggested this as an area of study in answer to one of 23&me’s questionaires.

  2. My maternal great x 2 grandmother married a Joshua Illingworth. His family worked in the Mills in Bradford, England, but his paternal grandfather was also a musician and a ‘teacher of singing.’ Joshua’s father Cain was also a musician, and he taught each of his 12 children to play a musical instrument. Joshua was a chorister and lay clerk at Ripon Cathedral, and also had his own band in the late 1800’s. When I was six years old, my best friend (I hate her!) told me one day that I had a horrible singing voice, I never sang another note until I was well into my 40’s. My eldest girl has a great singing voice, and sings with a Ceilidh group in Scotland. My U5b2a2c maternal side are also very artistic, and my daughter especially excels there too. So I definitely believe these traits are genetic. Now I need to go find out when I can view Josh Groban here in the UK.

  3. Right, got it! Sunday night. I recorded all TLC episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are” to make sure — (just in case).

  4. I don’t have TV so I watch episodes and series when they are streamed on YouTube or the website of the network. Does anyone know how, when and where WDYTYR can be seen? These genealogical programs tend to inspire me when I have given up looking for unknown birth parents and family..thanks

  5. Pingback: The Josh Groban episode – the Dutch part

  6. This show got me excited! My 9th great-grandmother was a Zimmerman from the same area! Her name was Maria Barbara Zimmerman. Now you know I have to try to connect the dots.

  7. Having discovered how difficult it is to trace family lines just five or six generations back, I can’t imagine the difficulty in tracing a line of Zimmermanns to Pennsylvania and into Germany. Lancaster County must have over a hundred alone. A whole lot of research must go into each segment of the show. His Jewish heritage might also have been interesting; maybe an ancestor was a cantor. My only disappointment was the absence of DNA testing results.

  8. Pingback: DNAeXplain Archives – Entertainment Articles | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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