International Genealogy Research Project and Historical Preservation of Bingham City Cemetery

By: The Jencks Family


We express sincere appreciation for the dedication of 2,600+ volunteers that helped us document and honor the deceased at Bingham City Cemetery. Thank you, our friends in service. We will not forget the people, the places, the stories and the faces of those we have interacted with. We are indebted at your kindness and generosity. Thanks from the Jencks x5!

Bingham City Cemetery, also referred to by some locals as the "Kennecott Copper Cemetery" consists mainly of past residents of towns or camps such as Bingham Canyon, Carr Fork, Copperfield, Copperton, Dinkeyville, Freeman Gulch, Frogtown, Highland Boy, Lark, Leadmine, Lower Main, Phoenix, and Telegraph.

The city of Bingham was located just below Utah Copper / Kennecott Copper Mines. Bingham was incorporated in 1904, but it is clear that burials were taking place well before that date. The earliest documented birth is 1824. We found one headstone that shows a death date of 1873, several other headstones with death dates of 1879. According to town board minutes, the cemetery was officially created in 1913. The cemetery was owned by Bingham City until 1971 when mining operations expanded. State law mandated that the largest operating government entity assume ownership of the cemetery, that being Jordan School District. They did their best to care for and maintain the 8-acre ghost town cemetery but the fact remains they are in the business of educating students.

In 2004, while searching for our ancestors, we found that the school district inherited sparse, incomplete and threadbare cemetery records. Most of our ancestors were not documented.

This service began with our son Brad Jencks, and his Eagle Scout project. Efforts continued with our daughters, Tiffany and Stephanie, (Girl Scouts).

In 2004, 2014, 2017, and 2022, we received permission from the cemetery owners to photograph, map and transcribe the headstones/burial sites at Bingham City Cemetery.

We learned that many people buried in the cemetery braved ocean crossings and found their way to the United States in search of employment at the world's largest open pit copper mine.

We discovered burials from 30 countries; Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Nova Scotia, Puerto Rico, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Wales, Yugoslavia - plus 38 states with the United States of America.

This cemetery boasts a diverse, multi-ethnic background. Many headstones are in different languages. Names were "Americanized". Examples: Brkljacic to Blockovich, Busljeta to Bullet, Epop to Error, Jengich to Yengich etc. In addition, names were spelled phonetically.

We were stunned to see that parents buried several babies and small children due to epidemics like Typhoid Fever, Diphtheria, and Whooping Cough. Many people died from diseases that are 100% curable today. Young men lost their lives in mining accidents. Some suffered violent deaths from murder. The burials in the old historic section were mostly laborers and were not able to be sent back to their native land for proper burial. It is heartbreaking to see hundreds of deaths under 30 years of age. Some families are buried together in unmarked gravesites with only one parent noted at best. Times past were hard for these people as they suffered through several wars and The Great Depression.

Flood, fire, vandalism and the effects of time damaged metal markers and some headstones. We captured history with digital photography and GPS grave mapping etc.

Paul and Brad (Father and son computer professionals), custom built databases with name of deceased, birth/death/burial dates, parent's names, land emigrated from, cause of death, military service, occupation and more. Each member of our family participated in various capacities.

Books were authored, and information was donated to free genealogy websites, libraries, historical societies, repositories etc. We preserved history that will not be destroyed or lost with time and deterioration.

For 18+ years, our entire family has donated thousands of hours extensively researching the known and unknown burials. Every Memorial Day weekend for a decade, we interviewed living relatives of the deceased at the cemetery. (Even slept in an RV on 2 Memorial Day weekends hoping not to miss a cemetery visitor). This helped us discover more information and verify the accuracy of our research. We, combined with friends in service and scrolled through 53,000 names on microfilm, plus obtained public death certificates.

Our family recruited teams of volunteers to help us. And finally, we inherited cemetery records and more information. We thank people who have allowed us to be the keeper of the records of many precious souls. We are reconciling all the information. This remains a work in progress.

In this process, we documented/discovered 1,800+ burials from 30 nations and 38 states in the USA, including heroic military veterans of 7 wars and fallen police officers. More than 1,100 people in unmarked graves were not recorded in cemetery records and had literally been forgotten about. We were not able to find some of our ancestors buried in this ghost town cemetery once owned by a local school district. We figured the same issue would result for people across the world. That is what kept us going on a project that some deemed impossible.

We correspond with people in many countries. We are thrilled to report that we have been successful in helping people find their common ancestry and living family members that they have never met. Our end goal is to help people find their genealogy, ancestry, heritage and to connect cousins/relatives across the globe. It is a labor of love for the offspring of those buried at Bingham City Cemetery.

Like so many others, our forefathers moved to Utah seeking employment at Utah Copper/Kennecott Copper Mines. We are sad to report that many people died young and were not sent to their native land for proper burial. It is heartbreaking to see that their family/friends tried to remember the deceased with a mound of dirt, bricks, rocks or other decorative items.

A point of interest: The Dry Fork Cemetery, owned by George Chandler was relocated to Bingham City Cemetery in 1999. Kennecott Copper Company expanded mining operations and hired professionals to move the 14 burials. We maintain those memorials as part of Bingham City Cemetery.

Every Memorial Day weekend, we honor the military veterans and fallen police officers with flags. In addition, the International Monument and Dry Fork Monument receive flowers of remembrance. We also conduct education and service tours by appointment all year, weather permitting. It's a small way of paying it forward for the legacy that 30 nations left for us to enjoy.

We are so dedicated to Bingham City Cemetery that we purchased burial plots sufficient for 5+ future generations of Jencks family. All our children and their spouses plan to continue to give service for the cemetery until the last of us are buried there.

In addition to identifying and researching burials, we directly improved physical conditions at Bingham City Cemetery through several exclusive service projects and fundraising efforts. As a result, the cemetery now includes the following:

  • A granite military monument
  • International monument
  • Replacement VA headstones
  • Unknown But Loved headstones
  • Sponsor Someone Special Cemetery Pavilion-THIS IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Estimated completion date is May 2023. The pavilion will include our research including an alphabetized listing of burials, map with updated GPS coordinates, military and fallen officer memorial wall of honor, life sketches, history of Bingham Canyon, details about the cemetery plus a sitting area for visitors to relax and remember the people that paved the way for our success in life.

To donate to the Sponsor Someone Special Cemetery Pavilion, please email the Jencks for more information:
info@binghamcemetery.com

All of the above was made possible thanks to many kind contributors, volunteers, and donors. Gratitude goes to Copperton Metro Township and Residents, Bingham Canyon Lions Club, Jordan School District, The History Channel/Roots Television online, Ancestry.com, RootsWeb, USGenWeb, National Federation of Genealogical Societies, Find a Grave, The American Legion, Kearns Post 132, The United Veterans Council, The Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake County Archives, Utah Law Enforcement Memorial Organization, Bingham High Skills USA, Bingham High Football Team, Jordan School District Students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, The Aspect Foundation, International Exchange Students, Nu-Art Memorial, Salt Lake Monument Company, Larkin Memorial, Meridian Engineering, Utah Funeral Directors Association and Families, Freddie Foundation, Salt Lake Monument, Stock Lumber, private individuals, businesses, organizations, and multiple religious denominations.

Most importantly, we acknowledge more than 2,600 people who offered time and talent to assist us so far. We came together to honor the world for this cemetery full of amazing people who left a legacy for us to enjoy today. Thank you everyone!

This lifelong genealogy and historical project is ongoing. What you see on this website is under construction. We are in process of merging and reconciling data with several organizations. If you do not see your ancestor or relative listed here, please email us at:
info@binghamcemetery.com

Jordan School District transferred ownership of the cemetery to Copperton Metro Township in 2017. They embraced our efforts and we are pleased to partner with them in our genealogy project and more. The goal is to remember and honor everyone buried at this historic cemetery.

For cemetery business or to purchase burial plots please contact:

Copperton Metro Township - Bingham Cemetery Board:
binghamcemetery@coppertonutah.org

For genealogical inquiries or to arrange an education and service tour, please contact:

The Jencks family- Connecting Families Across the Globe
PO Box 95309
South Jordan, UT 84095
info@binghamcemetery.com

We have noted multiple sources for our records. We welcome additions, changes, and revisions to our research. If in error, we apologize and ask for assistance to correct the records.

Please feel free to print information about your ancestor or relative. This material is copyrighted and we ask that you use our name as the source for future records.

No permission is granted for use of our information/research for monetary gain or on other websites unless approved by the Paul Jencks family. We donated our time and ask that others pay it forward too.

Best regards in your journey and pursuit to find your ancestors and heritage. Please contact us with any questions, comments etc.

Paul, Lori, Brad, Tiffany and Stephanie Jencks
Connecting Families Across The Globe, to be continued...
May 2022

Headstone Photo Survey