Hello Andrew, I find your Mary Ellen in the 1880 Federal census living with her parents. The dates from the census and from family Bibles do often vary. Typically, I trust an original Bible date over birth dates given to a census taker. Sometimes a teen sibling in a family or an aunt may be giving somewhat impercise information, that due to just common error.
Your Mary Ellen, also called "Ella" by relatives, is listed in the Chapmanville District of the aforementioned census, 1880. Her age given when visited by the census taker is 11 years old. The 1900 census of Logan Co. has her birth as: March, 1869. Her father is James Ivan Dingess, born bet. 1840/1841 according to both the 1850 & 1860 Fed. census of Logan Co.; while 1880 census suggests his birth as, bet.1841/1842. The 1900 Federal census of Logan Co. has a more specific birth @ October, 1840; which I believe to be perhaps the most accurate. James I. Dingess died, March 15,1922. James Ivan and Martha Jane Smith married March 1, 1866, from a family source I once interviewed. Mary Ellen's mother was Martha Jane Smith, the dau. of William "Crawley" Smith and wife, Ann Butcher. As you see, sometimes the people themselves were uncertain of their birth dates, or certainly whomever it was in the family giving statistics to the census taker, were often giving their best guess.
Father could be in the fields and unable to answer the questions himself. Priorties about statistics were less important in those times generally speaking.
Mary Ellen Dingess married James R. Godby, 9-29-1887 in Logan Co.WV. James was the son of Tolbert Godby, born 9-11-1834 in Logan County Va.(wv)and Tolbert's wife, Dolly Dingess, the dau. of Dr. Peter & Mary (Stone) Dingess.
Tolbert S. Godby's parents were, William T. Godby and Ann
Halstead. William Terry Godby was born June 15, 1805, the son of William and Nancy (Dickenson)Godby of Montgomery Co.
Virginia. Ann Halstead was born Feb.22, 1813. Perhaps with this info. you may now find even more on your family tree. I do hope i've been of some help in this matter,
J.R. (Sammy) Hall.
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