Mary Ann Schulz, R.I.P.

UPDATE: An article describing the life of Mary Ann Schulz may be found at:

A genealogist, Mary Ann Schulz, and three other people were murdered on New Year’s Eve by a deranged New Jersey teen-ager with an assault rifle.

According to her obituary, “Not only was Mary Ann our family historian, she shared her expertise and passion for genealogy with anyone and everyone. She served on the Executive Board for the Monmouth County Genealogy Society, and was actively involved in the German Special Interest and Memoirs Groups, and Publicity Committee. Mary Ann co-founded the African-American Special Interest Group and worked tirelessly on the area’s cemetery restoration projects.”

The obituary is available at:

Schulz apparently was murdered by 16-year-old Scott Kologi who killed his parents, Steven and Linda Kologi, sister Brittany, and his grandfather’s life partner, Mary Schulz, 70, just minutes before midnight Sunday. The teenager used an AK-47-style assault rifle to kill all four adults at the family’s Long Branch, New Jersey, home. Details may be found at:


Simply heartbreaking.


“The teenager used an AK-47-style assault rifle…”. Very, very, very unlikely that was the case. An assault rifle is fully automatic by definition and the chances of him getting his hands on a fully automatic weapon to commit a crime like this are vanishingly small. It was probably a semi-automatic SKS or similar which is NOT an assault rifle.

That doesn’t change the fact four people have been murdered by someone who should likely never see the outside world again. Dreadful for the relatives and friends of the victims.


    —> An assault rifle is fully automatic by definition and…

    The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary at: disagrees with your definition:

    Definition of assault rifle
    : any of various intermediate-range, magazine-fed military rifles (such as the AK-47) that can be set for automatic or semiautomatic fire; also : a rifle that resembles a military assault rifle but is designed to allow only semiautomatic fire

    Liked by 1 person

    WHO CARES WHAT KIND OF GUN IT WAS!! This is why so many countries around the world have an issue with Americans and their reply “we have a right to bear arms … it is in our constitution”. Time that got updated as it was meant in the historical context and timeframe it was written for. My theory is they should ban bullets because there is nothing in the constitution about having a right to them!
    It is so sad to continually read about the senseless loss of live due to gun crimes and this one reported/shared by Mr Eastman is just one more example of it. It is as Marilyn Morgan wrote, “simply heart-breaking”.

    Liked by 1 person

    Who’s American? I’m certainly not

    To put this in more genealogical terms, would the readers of this blog (and indeed the writer of the blog) like to be referred to as, “weirdos who are obsessed with their dead relatives”? I doubt it. Yet from the point of view of some people that is a perfectly accurate and correct way to talk about genealogists. It shows the importance of using language correctly and unambiguously.

    To look at another example consider the names of certain chemical elements. The element with the symbol Al has the correct name of aluminium. The element with the symbol S has the correct name of sulfur. These are the names that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has assigned to them. However Americans persist in the incorrect usage of aluminum and those from the UK persist in the incorrect usage of sulphur. Not so important in everyday life, but you will be pulled up by the editor or reviewer if you try and use aluminum or sulphur in a scientific paper.

    Another genealogically-oriented one is dates. To my mind there are two correct ways of showing dates numerically. One is the UK one, ie dd-mm-yyyy and the other is the ISO one, ie yyyy-mm-dd. One goes from smallest unit to largest unit and the other goes from largest unit to smallest unit which are logical ways of constructing a date. The mm-dd-yyyy way of constructing a date is illogical in terms of the order of the units in the construction as it goes middle unit, smallest unit, largest unit. More importantly it produces great possibility for ambiguity. 10/2/2017=10th February 2017 or 2nd October 2017. Only the US and Canada and a few US ex-colonies use the mm-dd-yyyy way of writing dates so it is not an international standard. Other than a lot of inertia why is it used in the US when it causes a great deal of confusion? I suspect it originated in US speech patterns when reading out dates: that doesn’t make it any less illogical and non-standard and ambiguous. Also on dates is the problem of the switch to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar, and the attendant alteration in the start of the calendar year (at least in the UK). That’s why the fiscal year in the UK starts on 6th April as that was 25th March in the Julian calendar. How do you show dates prior to the switch? 1st January 1581, 1st January 1582 or 1st January 1581/82? Again a problem of ambiguous and arguably incorrect use of language.

    These examples show why it is so important to be precise and correct in the use of language. It facilitates communication and understanding and reduces or completely eliminates ambiguity. After all the whole point of a language existing in the first place is communication!


Merriam-Webster is incorrect then.

The term may be loosely applied to semi-automatic-only rifles but that doesn’t mean it is a correct use of the term. Assault rifles are for assaulting things, ie military weapons. To quote Wikipedia, “An assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.” A selective-fire rifle is one that can be semi-automatic, burst fire or fully-automatic. Unless of pre-1986 manufacture it is illegal for a private individual to own an automatic weapon in the United States. That plus the BATF transfer rules and fees means they are rare, expensive and extremely unlikely to be used in a crime. Even that murderer in Las Vegas didn’t use a fully automatic weapon, going instead for a bump stock modification to his firearms.

To quote another, much better, authority on what an assault rifile is—the US Army—which says assault rifles are “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.” Again selective fire is necessary for it to be a true assault rifle.

In the same way it would not be appropriate to call what is obiter part of the ratio it is not appropriate to call a semi-automatic-only weapon an assault rifle. Sloppy usage of terminology only leads to confusion and ambiguity.


So sad. I heard this story and thought of those lost and their families and friends, said a little prayer for them all. Now I see that it affected even more people, people in the genealogy world too. You never know how much a loss will affect others and a loss in such a senseless way too. RIP


In regard to Mr. Newton’s comment, the term ‘assault rifle’ is applied ONLY to rifles capable of automatic fire, and have been outlawed in the US since 1934. My, and apparently his objection is to the mis-use of the term. The media has coined the phrase ‘assault style’ after being taken to task for their mis-use of ‘assault rifle’. By the way, as a veteran of the USMC, I have found the only use of the term assault was applied to a bag-like holder for ammunition, used when a rifleman would carry the M-60, rather than fire from the tripod base.


Method of the tragedy is irrelevant. This is a genealogy forum. Story probably has no place here either.

The fact that a fellow genealogist was killed is tragic while the gun or other tool used has no place here.

Lately the newsletter has taken a noticeable political-social-cultural turn. I receive this because I like genealogy. Don’t need or want NEWS of the day here. Last time was some global warming-related story. This is the last one of these I’ll accept. Any more politicized nonsense will be the end of my membership. Please stick to genealogy and Dear God, please stop with the politics!


    —> This is a genealogy forum. Story probably has no place here either.

    In the past, I have reported on the deaths of many genealogists, especially those who were noted as experts or were noted as leaders in their local societies. The death of genealogist Mary Ann Schulz certainly qualifies as a leader in her local societies.

    To see a list of the deaths I have reported over the years, start at:

    I plan to continue reporting on the deaths of genealogists who are well known in the genealogy community, regardless of the cause of death. I believe that their friends and acquaintances should know of their demise. If the death was caused by something other than natural causes, their friends and acquaintances should know that also.

    Liked by 1 person

I saw this not as a political or social article but one that told of a person that was very involved in the genealogy community. Keep up the good work.

Liked by 1 person

Gun rights people are the ones that carry this to the extreme!


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