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Special Recordkeeping Rules That Impact Notaries

Special Recordkeeping Rules That Impact Notaries

Updated 8-28-18. A well-kept journal of notarial acts is a Notary's best defense against accusations of negligence. But if you're commissioned in a state with unusual journal guidelines, you must be sure to follow the law. Here are some states with unusual journal laws and guidelines:


When notarizing a signature on a deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust or other document affecting real property, or a power of attorney document, California Notaries must have the signer affix a thumbprint in the journal entry. California authorizes a Notary to make certified copies of journal entries upon subpoena, court order or at the request of the Secretary of State but does not allow Notaries to certify copies of journal records for the general public. Notaries must provide non-certified photocopies of journal line item entries to any member of the public who presents a written request, including the names of the involved parties, the type of document and the date of notarization.


While Florida law does not require Notaries to keep a journal, state officials recommend the practice. The Governor's Reference Manual For Notaries says, "Even though journals are not required, any notary who is concerned with liability may want to consider this protective measure to provide a permanent record of his or her notarial acts."


Texas has specific rules in place regarding Notary journals to protect the privacy of signers. Notaries in Texas are prohibited from recording any ID number that could identify the signer, grantor or maker of a document, such as a driver’s license number or a Social Security number. Notaries are permitted to record a number related to a signer’s address, however (such as a street number).


Arizona is unique in the U.S. in permitting Notaries working with legal documents to keep two different journals. In other states, Notaries may only keep a single, sequential journal record. Arizona law, however, makes a distinction between public notarial acts and notarizations affected by attorney-client privilege or that are confidential under federal or state law. Consequently, the state permits Notaries to keep separate journals — one for public acts and one for non-public acts..

While a journal of public acts stays in a Notary’s possession even if the Notary changes jobs, a journal containing only non-public records becomes the property of the employer when the Notary leaves that employment.


Illinois’ recordkeeping requirements are unusual. While Illinois Notaries are not required to keep a logbook or journal, they are required to keep a record of the fees they charge for notarial services. 


Massachusetts exempts attorneys, counselors at law, paralegals, legal secretaries and other legal staff from keeping a notarial journal.


Montana allows Notaries to maintain more than one journal if they choose. For example, a Montana Notary may keep one journal for personal notarizations and one for notarizations performed at the workplace. However, no matter how many journals are maintained, a Montana Notary is expected to provide any notarial records if requested by an authorized party. 


Nevada exempts a Notary's co-workers and fellow employees from leaving a signature in the Notary's journal entry if the Notary has performed a notarization for that person within the past six months, personally knows the individual and the notarization relates to a transaction performed in the ordinary course of the person’s business.

If you notarize in one of these states, how have these laws affected you? Do you feel any changes are needed to your state’s journal laws? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Information on other states' laws can be found on the NNA State Law Summaries page.


View All: Laws & Regulations


Add your comment

Amanda Sinclair

07 Aug 2017

What are the laws regarding the Use of a cell phone to take pictures of ID for a title company or lender?

National Notary Association

09 Aug 2017

Hello. ALTA Best Practices asks that all Title and Escrow companies to protect all customers’ non-public information. This would also include the CFPB standards for financial institutions. If the NSA is instructed by the contracting agency to take a photo of the ID, she should clarify whether her phone is secure and whether or not the company has an email address for the customer to send the image. An alternative that has been used by several NSAs is to have the customer take the photo of the ID and email that image to the receiving agency.

Jeanne Yomine

07 Aug 2017

I record every notary request in my log book. I use the notarial form as needed. I bring my fingerprint stamp with me. It is my understanding that I may request the fingerprint but that it is not required for them to agree. If this is not the case, then this should also be explained to all of us so that we are able to print a copy of the law requiring it.

Steve Jameson

07 Aug 2017



07 Aug 2017

I did not know that about Nevada. My boss will be happy to hear that. Thanks for the info.

Bethany Bever

07 Aug 2017

why do I have to leave a comment to read your email post?

National Notary Association

08 Aug 2017

Hello. You should not have to leave a comment to read our articles. If you can please email us at and let us know what type of device and browser you are using to view the article, we will be happy to assist you.

Danielle L Kingsley

07 Aug 2017

Journals are required in Florida since July 2014.

National Notary Association

08 Aug 2017

Hello. From page 12 of the 2016 Governor's Reference Manual for Notaries: "Although not required by Florida law, you may consider keeping a notary journal. Even though journals are not required, any notary who is concerned with liability may want to consider this protective measure to provide a permanent record of his or her notarial acts." You can view the full manual at


07 Aug 2017

I don't know what you want. Comment on what? I said "good", couldn't see the post. I said "not good", still couldn't see the post. What do you want?

National Notary Association

08 Aug 2017

Hello. You should not be required to enter a comment to view articles. If you are having issues, please email us at and we will try to help you resolve the issue.


07 Aug 2017

The article does not address the issue of states like Vermont that don't require a journal, but if a journal is kept voluntarily, public access must be provided in accordance with the state's complex public record laws.

janean jackson

03 Sep 2018

with the increase of fraud, verification should always be required, signature, id documenting and fingerprinting. this exemption puts notaries at risk if someone says thats not them.


03 Sep 2018

New Jersey also exempts attorneys at law from any requirement to keep a journal. I am an attorney at law from NJ. NJ does not, however, have any exemptions from keeping a journal for paralegals or legal secretaries. Also, the state requires paralegals and legal secretaries, just like anyone else seeking to be a notary public, to make an application and have a senator sign off of the application.

National Notary Association

05 Sep 2018

Hello. Could you please provide the statute detailing the Notary journal exemption for attorneys in New Jersey that you are describing?

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