Your Cookies are Disabled! sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

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

NNA Hotline Tip Logo

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


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, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

View All: Hotline Tips


Add your comment

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?

Guadalupe Liliana Arreguin Villa

22 Jun 2022

Hi, my commission expires 6/23/22, I am waiting on my documents to order the new stamp. I understand I can keep using my same journal, is that correct?

National Notary Association

24 Jun 2022

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

24 Jun 2022

I am in the State of California

National Notary Association

24 Jun 2022

Hello. Yes, you may continue to use your current journal as long as it has room for you to record new journal entries.


03 Aug 2022

Must I use a new notary journal for each commission or may I continue using the current journal until all spaces have been utilized. I am commissioned in Hawaii.

National Notary Association

19 Aug 2022

“A notary public shall maintain a journal in which the notary public chronicles all notarial acts that the notary public performs” (HRS 456-15[a]); see also HAR 5-11-9[a]). “A notary public shall maintain only one tangible journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts performed regarding tangible documents and one electronic journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts performed regarding electronic documents” (HRS 456-15[b]).


08 Aug 2022

I have a Journal that was given to me when I became a Notary for a bank I was working for. I no longer work for the bank and my journal only has one entry that I made after leaving the bank. This journal has such bank name as an option for the location. Am I able to start a new journal if I already made one entry? Or do I have to keep using the bank issued one? I am Commissioned in the state of California.

National Notary Association

06 Sep 2022

You can stop using a journal you already started and start using a new journal. However, once you stop using a journal, you have to file it away in a safe place and you cannot use it for future notarizations.

Andrea Napoleon

14 Feb 2023

I am a California Notary. My Commission Expires this year in May, I already Took the test to renew and passed. I have only have three lines left in my current Journal can I start a new Journal and when I get my new commission continue using that new Journal?

National Notary Association

17 Feb 2023

Hello. Yes, you may. However, once you start using the new journal, you may not go back and make additional entries in the previous journal.

22 Jul 2023

My notary commission expired April 2023 and I am in the process of renewing. I forgot that I was supposed to return my journal if my commission was not renewed within 30 days. If I turn it in now, what will happen?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2023

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

Fernando Cervantes Canizalez

24 Aug 2023

My notary expires today 08/24/2023. I'm still wailing for my new commission and bond to be mailed. If 30 days pass, I have to take my old journals and stamp to the county clerk?

National Notary Association

24 Aug 2023

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

Harsh Shah

11 Sep 2023

I am California notary whose commission is set to expire after 45 days. I have taken the test and passed. My existing journal has plenty of pages to fill in the journal entry. Can I continue to use my existing journal or need to make journal entry in new journal as I will have new notary commission number on renewal.

National Notary Association

15 Sep 2023

Hello. You may continue to use your existing journal. Every California Notary must keep “one active sequential journal at a time, of all official acts performed as a notary public” (GC 8206[a][1]).

Erika Rivas

17 Nov 2023

My CA notary commission expired but I am currently renewing (passed test, waiting for commission packet), can I keep same journal or do I need to turn it in still?

National Notary Association

30 Nov 2023

Hello. You may continue to use your current journal as long as their is space for additional entries.


15 Jan 2024

I have never had a lapse in my commission, but was wondering if I can start a new (preferred) journal than what I am currently using (I'd like to use The Modern Journal). Is that possible? I'm commissioned in CA.

National Notary Association

19 Jan 2024

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.


28 Jan 2024

Can I continue using the same journal when I renew my commission? I'm in AZ.

National Notary Association

31 Jan 2024

Hello. Yes, as long as your commission does not lapse or end. After your commission ends, you must follow the procedures below regarding retention of your journal records: “While a notary public is commissioned, a notary public shall keep all records and journals of the notary public’s acts for at least five years after the date the notarial act was performed. On receipt of the records and journals from a notary public who no longer is commissioned, the secretary of state shall keep all records and journals of notaries public deposited in the secretary of state’s office for five years and shall give certified copies thereof when required, and for the copy certifications the secretary of state shall receive the same fees as are by law allowed to notaries public. The copy certifications shall be as valid and effectual as if given by a notary public” (ARS 41-317.C). “Any journal that contains records which are all five years old, or older, may be destroyed, and are not required to be turned into (sic) the secretary” (RM).

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.