Why It’s Vital to Keep a Notary Journal

August 5th, 2022 / Notary Association of America

Many states require notaries to keep an official journal that documents all notarial acts. Even if notary journals are not mandatory in your state, we highly recommend that you use one. In fact, keeping a current and complete journal of all notarizations is part of our Creed of Integrity.

A well-maintained journal lets you track the details of each notarial act, which can be invaluable if your notarizations are ever challenged. If one of your notarizations is contested in court, your journal will show that you followed established protocol. It can also demonstrate that you have a documented history of complying with the law.

How to Fill Out a Notary Journal Entry

You should track every notarization in your journal in chronological order. When completing your journal entries, remember to always follow your state’s laws.

Record your journal entries while the party is present and before you complete the notarization. This allows you to obtain all the information you need before the party or signer leaves.

Key details to document in each journal entry include:

  • Date of the notarial act
  • Type of notarial act (e.g., oath, acknowledgment, attested photocopy, or marriage)
  • Name or brief description of the document
  • Party’s printed name exactly as he or she signed the document
  • Party’s signature and address
  • Type of identification used to identify the party (e.g., driver’s license, state ID, or passport)
  • Fee charged for the notary service
  • Any additional information you consider important

Many notary journals also contain a space for the signer’s thumbprint. If a signer provides a thumbprint for your journal, you have excellent proof of his or her identity for your records.

Keep Your Notary Journal Private

Your journal, just like your notary seal, should always remain in your possession. It contains sensitive and possibly private information about the parties you have performed notarizations for.

Do not share your journal with anyone, including another notary or your employer. Even if your employer paid for the journal, it has no rights to your record book.

Need to Purchase a Notary Journal?

If you’re convinced it’s a good idea to start keeping detailed records of your notarial acts, you can order a notary journal from Notaries.com.

Maintaining a complete and accurate journal — even if you’re not legally required to — is a great way to keep your records organized. It’s also one of your best defenses against legal liabilities.