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Hotline Tip: Should I Use My Old Journal Or My New Journal?

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I currently own two Notary journals: the one I purchased when I reinstated my commission last year, and another that I just came across that I had been using back when my commission expired in 2009. Should I continue using my new journal as I have been, or go back to my original journal? — S.D., Modesto, CA

According to California Notary law, once you have a lapse in commission for more than 30 days you are required to turn the journal into the County Clerk’s Office where you filed your bond and took your oath. You are then required to start a new journal. So, in your case, you were correct in using a new journal when you got your new commission, but you should now turn your old journal in to the County Clerk’s office.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. –The Editors

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.


Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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Karen Rogers

10 Jul 2014

I renewed my commission and tried to turn in my old ledger and the county office would not accept it because it was not completely filled up. I knew they were wrong but I could not force them to take it. I have used my new journal and still have the old one what am I supposed to do?

National Notary Association

11 Jul 2014

Hello Karen! We'll be happy to try and assist you. What state you are writing from, please?

Kay Dillon

02 Dec 2014

if your commission expires, what should you do with your journal?

National Notary Association

02 Dec 2014

Hi Kay, Each state has different laws regarding disposal of a Notary journal when the Notary's commission expires. Please let us know what state you are writing from, and we'll be happy to assist you. Thanks!

Bobbie Suzanne Fitz

03 Jan 2021

Should I use a new journal for the new year? I am a Missouri notary.

National Notary Association

04 Jan 2021

Hello. Missouri Notaries performing paper notarizations may maintain only one active permanently bound journal at the same time (RSMo 486.700.1). The journal must be a permanently bound journal with numbered pages. Entries in the journal must be chronological (RSMo 486.700.1-.2). “A notary shall keep the permanently bound journal for a period of no less than ten years from the date of the last entry” (RSMo 486.700.3).


05 Jul 2021

If I renew my commission, do I continue using the same journal for my new commission or must I begin a new journal? I am in California

National Notary Association

03 Aug 2021

Yes, you can continue to use the same journal when notarizing under a new commission.


15 Jan 2022

If a lost journal is returned, should I continue to use the returned journal, or should I use the new journal?

National Notary Association

20 Jan 2022

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

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