Reprinted with permission from the Sunday October 18, 1998 issue of The Lima News

Venedocia rumbles down information highway

By Lyn Oxyer

Charles Good, "webmaster of Venedocia"
Photo by Lyn Oxyer

VENEDOCIA -- Venedocia may be a small village, but the Internet makes it mighty.

The last census placed the Van Wert County village's population at 158, tiny enough for it to lay claim to the unofficial title of "smallest village in Ohio with its own web page."

The Venedocia web site provides the latest village gossip, a plat map showing all village lots, and a sound bite of the Welsh National Anthem. And that's just the beginning.

The web site is the work of webmaster Charles Good. A professor of biology at OSU-Lima, Good moved to Venedocia in 1977 and considers the web page a unique way of serving his adopted community.

"This is my community service niche I have carved out for myself," Good said. "The purpose of the Internet is to make information available to people. And that's my goal with this web page: to put as much information (on it) as I can about Venedocia."

There is a strong Welsh flavor to the web site because Venedocia was settled by immigrants from Wales. The Welsh flag waves on its home page. Welsh flags are in the background. Information about Salem Presbyterian Church's Gymanfa Ganu, an annual Welsh sing, is posted, with pictures.

Good himself isn't Welsh, but he wants to perpetuate the heritage of the community he calls home.

"Venedocia has a very rich history," he said. "Although I'm not Welsh-American, when in Rome, do as the Romans do."

When he first set up the web page, it had only one screen and some basic information about Venedocia. Since then, it has grown.

Good put the text of letters, diary entries and books about the settlement of Venedocia on the web site. Links to Welsh history are available too. And there are pictures of the town -- lots of them.

He also created a directory of people in both Venedocia cemeteries to make it easier for genealogists. He has several maps of Venedocia and the surrounding area, including some custom-made ones with icons for area attractions.

It's taken three years for Good to make the web site a comprehensive look at Venedocia. He took all the pictures, researched all the information and designed everything.

"I tinker at it continuously," he said. "Anything I find about Venedocia, I put up. I didn't do it all in one weekend."

He thought for a minute, then added, "Some of these things took me all weekend to type, actually."

Good set up the site using a web page service called Geocities. The service is free, but puts advertising at the top of each web page to cover expenses. It hasn't cost Good anything but time, something he doesn't mind giving up.

"I like it," he said. "It's a labor of love. I enjoy promoting my community. Many people have told me I do a good job and that makes me feel good."

To reach the web page, type in and the page will come up.

© 1998 The Lima News

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