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Notary Records Are Your Best Evidence

Not all states require that Notaries keep a Notary journal or other form of records, and some law professionals mistakenly believe keeping them is redundant and a waste of time. But your records are your best friend when it comes to upholding the authenticity of your official acts. And whether your state requires it or not, they will be especially helpful if one of your notarizations is challenged in court.

While attorneys and law firms generally keep copies of notarized documents as part of their case files, you might not have access to them. It could prevent you from being able to fulfill a legal public request for a line-item copy of a notarization, even from law enforcement officials.

Additionally, if you switch employment, you will no longer have access to any of the documents you notarized, severely prohibiting access to any evidence of your official acts on behalf of your previous employer.

Lastly, you will have no record or evidence if one or more parties that rely upon a document you notarized request information about the notarization. You perform your official acts on behalf of your commissioning authority as a public service, not as an employee of a law firm, so keeping official records is the best evidence you can have that you are upholding your duty.

Additional resources


David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.


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12 Dec 2016

do you know if in the state of Tennessee I have to thumbprint the signer?

National Notary Association

12 Dec 2016

Hello. Tennessee does not require Notaries to include a signer's thumbprint in journal entries.

sandra bedard

03 Jan 2017

Does Michigan require thumbprints as well as journals?

National Notary Association

03 Jan 2017

Hello. Michigan does not have a journal requirement, so the state has no guidelines for thumbprints in journal entries.

Lisa rosas

04 Jun 2017

I have an prenup affirmation beIng challenged due to notary log only shows 1 entry of both signatures however notary log I received does not even show page numbers. Can prenup Andy affirmation of prenup be signed and notirized at same time?

National Notary Association

08 Jun 2017

Hello. We're sorry, but any questions regarding preparation of a prenuptial agreement would have to be answered by a qualified attorney.


13 Jun 2017

Question - how long are you required to keep a journal?

National Notary Association

13 Jun 2017

Hi Teresa, it depends on your state. What state are you commissioned in?

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