Your Cookies are Disabled! NationalNotary.org 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.

Who May View A Notary Signing Agent's Journal Entries?

Updated 4-5-22. Notary Signing Agents are required to keep a signer's information in their journal records private. But what should you do if a lender, title company or signing service asks to look at your journal entries before they will offer you assignments? Remember that you can't bend federal and state privacy laws, no matter who asks. 

Privacy Rules For Notary Journals

Notary Signing Agents should not allow a company to view noncustomer journal records containing private personal information. Title companies are responsible for protecting confidential customer financial information under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and inspecting journal entries that do not involve customers of the title company would violate GLBA rules. Subject to the exceptions listed below, the NNA recommends signing agents refuse to allow potential contracting companies to view their journals, since signing agents are bound to protect nonpublic personal information under the same GLBA rules.

State-Specific Exceptions

Some states proscribe rules for providing access to journal entries that are exceptions to the normal privacy guidelines discussed above. Unless one of these stated exceptions applies, Notary Signing Agents should not allow a title company to inspect their journals as a condition to receiving assignments with that company.

Arizona — A journal entry that is a public record may be viewed by any person who presents a written request that details the name of the person whose signature was notarized, the month and year the act took place and the type of document or transaction (ARS 41-319[F]). Note that Arizona authorizes Notaries to keep a separate journal for notarial acts that are not public records. Journal entries that are not public records include entries containing information covered by attorney-client privilege or that are confidential pursuant to federal or state law. Journals that contain nonpublic records are the property of the Notary’s employer (usually a law firm) and must be kept confidential (ARS 41-319[E]).

California — Government Code 8206[d] states that the journal is the exclusive property of the Notary and prohibits a Notary from surrendering the journal to any person. The exceptions are a peace officer if the journal contains evidence related to a criminal investigation or to the county clerk when the Notary ends his or her career as a Notary.

However, a California Notary must provide a photocopy of a journal entry to anyone making a written request that includes the name of the parties involved in the notarization, the type of document, and the month and year the notarization took place (Government Code 8206[c]). A Notary-employee must permit an employer to inspect journal entries that are directly associated with the employer’s business provided the Notary is physically present. The employer may not require Notary employees to provide access to journal entries unrelated to the employer’s business (Government Code 8206[d]).

Colorado  Any member of the public may present a written request which includes the name of the parties, the type of document, and the month and year in which a record was notarized. Upon receiving this request, a Notary may provide a certified copy of the line item representing the requested transaction and charge the fee allowed in CRS Section 24-21-529. The Notary must  record the transaction in the Notary’s journal (CRS 24-21-519[5]).

Hawaii — Hawaii Notaries must allow inspection of journal records by any responsible person without fee or reward (HRS 502-73).

Maryland — A Notary Public may charge $2 for certifying a copy of an entry in the notary’s register of official acts (COMAR 01.02.08.03E). The fee for providing a photocopy of an entry in the register is $1 per copy (COMAR 01.02.08.03C).

Massachusetts — Notary journals may only be inspected without restriction by law enforcement, if subpoenaed by court order, or when the Secretary of the Commonwealth orders the Notary to surrender the journal (GL 222 Sec. 22[g]).

Mississippi — A Notary must provide photocopies of journal records to a person who requests them and pays the legal fee (MCA 25-33-5). Any person may inspect a journal entry in the Notary’s presence during regular business hours if (a) the person is personally known or provides satisfactory proof of identity to the Notary; (b) the person requesting the inspection signs a separate, dated entry in the Notary’s journal; (c) the person specifies the month, year, type of document and name of the principal for the notarial acts; and (d) the person is only shown the entries specified in the request. Only law enforcement, a court issuing a subpoena or the Secretary of State can request an unrestricted inspection of a Mississippi Notary’s journal. The Notary may deny access to the journal if the Notary has a reasonable and explainable belief that a person bears a criminal or harmful intent in requesting information from the journal (1 Miss. Admin. Code Pt. 5, R. 50.4.6.A and B).

Missouri — The journal may be examined and copied without restriction by a law enforcement officer in the course of an official investigation, subpoenaed by court order, pursuant to subpoena power as authorized by law, or surrendered at the direction of the secretary (RSMo 486.710.1).

Nevada — A Nevada Notary’s journal is open to public inspection without qualification (NRS 240.120[6]).

Oregon — Only Notaries who are public officials or employees are obligated to disclose journal records under Oregon’s public records laws (ORS 192.410-192.505). A Notary who is not a public official or employee is exempt from disclosing the journal contents, unless requested by the Secretary of State under OAC 160-100-0430(6).

Pennsylvania  A Notary must give a certified copy of the journal to a person who applies for it (57 Pa.C.S. 319[g.1.]).

Texas — Texas Notaries must provide a certified copy of any requested entry upon payment of the fee allowed by law within 10 days of the receipt of the fees (Government Code Section 406.014 and Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Section 87.52[a]). If the Notary can't provide the certified copy by the 10th business day, the Notary must certify this fact in writing to the person requesting the copy on or before the 10th business day. The Notary must set a reasonable date and hour by which the certified copy will be provided and provide the copy by that date and time. If the Notary has inadvertently included personal identifiable information in the entry contrary to 1 TAC Section 87.50, the Notary must redact that personal information prior to the release of the certified copy. 

Bill Anderson is Vice President of Legislative Affairs with the National Notary Association. David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.

View All: Best Practices

22 Comments

Add your comment

elaine.webster@wellsfargoadvisors.com

10 Jul 2014

Can your employer ask you to photocopy your entire journal each year when they pay for your notary costs? They prohibit notaries to perform any other notarial acts other than for the company clients and company employees

Wendy Cottrell

01 Jun 2017

Is their a standard fee in Maryland to request a copy of a Notary's journal? Can a Notary notorize their own signature?

National Notary Association

02 Jun 2017

Hello. Maryland Notaries are prohibited from notarizing their own signatures. The fee for providing a photocopy of an entry in the register is $1.00 per copy (CMR 01.02.08.03C).

Regina

26 Aug 2018

If a court issue arises, can a journal be subpoenaed?

National Notary Association

27 Aug 2018

Hello. Yes. For an example of a journal being subpoenaed in California, please see this Hotline Tip: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/09/can-lawyer-subpoena-sections-notary-journal. Situations in other states may differ based on individual state law.

Andrea T

27 Aug 2018

I am renewing my notary and notice the register has a place for a finger print is that required?

National Notary Association

27 Aug 2018

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

Judy K Coultry

28 Aug 2018

i'm still confused about who see the notary journal entries. Is it public record? The TN attorney General clarifies that the records of a Notary Public are public records. On the NNA test there are several choices for the answer. If I am in TN do I answer public record meaning that the answers are state specific?

National Notary Association

30 Aug 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but because the Notary Signing Agent exam is a qualification test rather than an educational tool, we can only provide your final score, and we are unable to provide correct answers or indicate which questions you missed.

Kim

23 Apr 2019

Can an employer (in this case a hospital) request a copy of notary journal if the employee/notary leaves the company. In this case, the notary notarizes for the hospital patients and also has non-hospital customers that have nothing to do with the hospital.

National Notary Association

26 Apr 2019

What state is the Notary commissioned in, please?

Treba

06 Jan 2020

I have heard from other notaries that I need to add my commission number to my stamp, is this true?

National Notary Association

07 Jan 2020

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

Kerry M Laughlin

08 Jan 2021

Can I add my NSA entries into my regular Notary Journal ? Does it make a difference what notarial acts are in my journal ?

National Notary Association

12 Jan 2021

Hello. All notarizations you perform should be recorded in your journal in accordance with your state's laws.

Lydia Moore

26 Apr 2021

It seems that for many of the questions asked, the first response is to ask the person writing to list which state they are in. Perhaps you need to post this at the top of the page advising people with questions to list their state, or add a box to the query form for them to select their state. Seems this would save time and allow for a complete answer for all to benefit from.

Irene Rodriguez

13 Dec 2021

Texas notary is avoiding to provide me copies from journal. Can the attorney she works for provide me the copies? Three times we've gone in supposedly she isn't working.

National Notary Association

30 Dec 2021

Hello. The Texas Secretary of State suggests that all requests for copies of entries in a Notary’s record book be made in writing through a certified letter to the Notary’s official address on file, thereby providing evidence for a complaint if the Notary fails to comply (website, “Frequently Asked Questions for Notaries Public”). “Failure of a notary public to promptly and adequately respond to a request for public information … may be good cause for suspension or revocation of a notary commission or other disciplinary action against the notary” (1 TAC 87.53).

Cathy L Lewis

14 Apr 2022

In California, regarding who can request a line item in your journal, can just anyone request it if they have the correct information? Even an individual who is not associated with the transaction? It seems like personal information is given to whoever wants it. I am conflicted.

National Notary Association

19 Apr 2022

“Upon written request of any member of the public, which request shall include the name of the parties, the type of document, and the month and year in which notarized, the notary shall supply a photostatic copy of the line item representing the requested transaction at a cost of not more than thirty cents ($0.30) per page” (GC 8206[c]). “Upon receiving a request for a copy of a transaction pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 8206, the notary shall respond to the request within 15 business days after receipt of the request and either supply the photostatic copy requested or acknowledge that no such line item exists. In a disciplinary proceeding for noncompliance with subdivision (c) of Section 8206 or this section, a notary may defend his or her delayed action on the basis of unavoidable, exigent business or personal circumstances” (GC 8206.5).

Jennifer Brazil

19 Apr 2022

Who can see a Washington state notary’s journal?

National Notary Association

22 Apr 2022

From the state Notary Public Guide: "While generally a notary’s journal is considered private property, the journal entries that a notary public creates during the course of work as a state or local government employee in Washington are likely public records, due to the nature of government employee’s work and Washington public disclosure laws. The Department recognizes that this may create difficulties for state or local government employees who perform notarizations both while working and outside of work. A notary may be able to argue that specific journal entries are not public record, because they were created outside of the scope of their employment. In order to prove this, though, the notary is responsible for demonstrating which entries are work-related and which are not. To help prove which entries are public record, the notary public can segregate their state-work notarizations and after-hours notarizations into different sections of the journal, such as recording all of the after-hours notarizations in the back of the journal. Color coding journal entries may be another way to distinguish which entries are public record. The Department advises any notary who works for the state or a local government agency in Washington to consult with their agency’s public records advisor on these issues” (NPG).

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.

Close