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What To Do With Your Old Notary Journal

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For many Notaries, there’s a sense of accomplishment when you come to the end of a Notary journal — it represents months or even years of notarizations and experience. It also gives you the opportunity to choose a fresh, new journal design. But the question is: what do you do with your old Notary journal?  

Consult Your State Notary Laws
 

The first thing you want to do as you near the end of a Notary journal is check your state laws, as rules and requirements regarding old Notary journals vary from state to state.

For example, California Notaries who still have their commissions are required to retain old journals in their possession until their commission ends — whether due to resignation, termination, or death.

Once their commissions end, California Notaries must surrender all journals to their county clerk. This also includes people who renew their commissions but have their old commission expire for more than 30 days before obtaining reappointment.

Arizona specifically requires its Notaries to keep old journals and records in their possession for at least five years, unless they cease to be a Notary within that time frame. At that point, they must send their journals to the Secretary of State via certified mail.

In Hawaii, Notaries are required to surrender their journals to the Attorney General’s office at the end of each four-year commission term.

Follow Notary Best Practices
 

If you live in a state that doesn’t have a journal requirement, or if your state lacks laws or rules governing what to do with completed journals, the NNA recommends following the guidelines of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility.

The Code advises keeping your official journal of notarial acts in your possession for at least 10 years from the date of the last entry in the journal (VIII-C-2).

The reason for such a long period is that claims against you can come years after you have performed a notarization, and your journal can provide very important documentation if you are sued.

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

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36 Comments

Add your comment

Dave Irby

10 Nov 2014

If this is what we have to do to view, perhaps we should just use a different company.

W. Gail Manchur

10 Nov 2014

I recently received a phone call from an attorney's paralegal in a large city at the other end of the state. She asked if I still had my journal from 10 years ago. I was happy to tell her I still have ALL my journals safely locked away. She said the borrowers were denying that they had ever obtained a loan and the attorney was seeking to prove loan papers had, in fact, been signed and notarized. I was also very happy to tell them that during the time that journal covered, notaries entered detailed information about the signers, including thumbprints. Oregon no longer lets us put anything in our journal except the type of ID used and its expiration date. I wish they would allow us to put thumbprints and at least the identifying serial number of each ID used. I think it is a horrendous mistake and the law was changed for all the wrong reasons. Anyway, the attorney was happy and the opposing council withdrew and settled about a week before I was supposed to appear in court with my journal. I think the thumbprint and detailed ID information made the difference!

Glenda Dohm

11 Nov 2014

interested in reading the article

Glenda Dohm

11 Nov 2014

Look forward to reading the articles

B. Sudler-Lewis

13 Nov 2014

Thanks for sharing this information

D. Jones

12 Jul 2016

What do you do when a notary failed to relinquish his journal(s) after his commission ended? He did not report it as stolen, lost or accidentally destroyed, either. I am dealing with one that will not provide a copy, certified or otherwise, of a line item entry for a signing that took place about 10 yrs ago. I have reason to believe that numerous documents are involved. Fraudulent activity, perhaps?

Fernanda

03 Mar 2017

Hi, My commission expired on 02/27/17 and i will not renew it. I am trying to find information on how to send the journal. Do i need to write a "journal surrender letter"? I will send it via certified mail to the county clerk, but I'm not sure if i should just mail the journal on its own or add a note to it. Thanks for the feedback!

National Notary Association

06 Mar 2017

Hi Fernanda. So that we can answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Lorene

30 Mar 2017

Same situation as Fernanda. I live in Glendale CA. Where can I send my journal and what about the seal?

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2017

Hello. If you are permanently resigning your commission, you would need to turn in your journal to the county clerk's office where your oath of office is filed. You would then need to make your old seal unusable (for example, by cutting the rubber seal impression so it can't be used by someone else) before disposing of it. When making a seal unusable, please take appropriate safety measures when using tools or sharp objects to avoid accidental injury.

Blanca carra

01 May 2017

Where do I turn in my notary documents if my license expired?

National Notary Association

03 May 2017

Hi Blanca. What state are you commissioned in?

james

17 May 2017

What are the penalties for not returning a journal after the commission expires? Thanks.

National Notary Association

18 May 2017

Hello. So we can answer your question, can you tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Tomomi Nguyen

01 Aug 2017

Could you please let me know where I need to return my Journal book? I live in Southern California right now.

National Notary Association

02 Aug 2017

Hello. If you have permanently resigned your CA Notary commission, you need to turn in your journal within 30 days of resigning to the county clerk's office where your Notary oath of office is filed.

Elaine Harris

22 Sep 2017

My notary was provided by my employer (municipality in Utah) and lapsed approximately ten years ago. I still have my log and the last entry was 10/19/2007. How long must this log be retained and should it be retained by me or retained in the office where I worked?

National Notary Association

25 Sep 2017

Hello. Utah permits the Notary to decide how long they should keep their journal after they are no longer a Notary. The state recommends keeping the journal for a sufficient amount of time (the state suggests 10 years) to be able to use as evidence if a notarization is called into question.

Kimberly

06 Oct 2017

For a California notary, my commission is ending next year but I am renewing my commission this year. Do I need to turn in my journal for the commission that is ending next year?

National Notary Association

09 Oct 2017

Hello. As a CA Notary, you only have to turn in your journal records if your commission ends and you do not renew your commission within 30 days after the expiration date. If you are renewing your commission early, you can continue to use your existing journal.

Angelica M Jones

14 Oct 2017

Hello. My commission expired years ago but my journal had been misplaced. I live in California. Is there penalty for not turning it in right away?

National Notary Association

16 Oct 2017

Hello. If you have lost your journal, immediately notify the Secretary of State by certified or registered mail. The notification shall include the period of the journal entries, your Notary Public commission number, and the expiration date of your commission. (GC 8206[b]).

vett

08 Nov 2017

Notary public for Nevada for county of Clark my commission ended in July 2017 i have renewed it and waiting on approval. Should i start new notaries with my new commission on new journal or continue on old journal. thank you

National Notary Association

09 Nov 2017

Hello. You may continue using your old journal-you do not have to start a new one until the previous one is completed. A Nevada Notary Public must retain all journals kept until 7 years after the date on which he or she ceases to be a Notary. (NRS 240.120[9])

Jake

03 Jan 2018

Hello, I was cleaning out and old file cabinet and I came across my old notary journal. My commission expired in 2009 and I just forgot to turn it in. What should I do with it? Is it too late to turn it in? Is there a penalty for not turning it in? Also, with my current occupation being a notary public would be an asset. Would not turning in my old journal disqualify me from becoming a notary again? I'm in California. Thank you!

National Notary Association

05 Jan 2018

Hello. California rules state that a Notary who resigns his or her commission is supposed to turn in the journal within 30 days after the commission ends. (GC 8209) If you found a journal that you forgot to turn in, you may wish to contact either the Secretary of State's office or the county clerk's office where your oath was filed and request instructions.

Michael Miroyan

07 Apr 2018

I need to find a couple of notaries in regards to some Questions regarding docs ..where do I go to find them ?And if I asked him for a specific date that supposed to show me the signature line in the book right & what the document was correct ?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2018

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

Sandra Wise

08 May 2018

My Notary commission expired years ago and I did turn it in to the County Clerk. Will this disqualify me from becoming a notary again?

National Notary Association

08 May 2018

Hello. Unless your previous commission was suspended or revoked due to misconduct or negligence, as long as you meet all of your state's qualifications you should be able to apply for a new Notary commission.

John

10 Mar 2019

I live in Dallas, Texas. My commission expired 4 years ago. I'm not going to renew it. What to do with my old notary journal?

National Notary Association

11 Mar 2019

Hello. The journal should be turned in to the county clerk's office of the county in which you reside (GC 406.022).

Ana

20 May 2019

My commission expired a month ago and I am commissioned in Los Angeles county. Can I mail my journal in? If so to what address ? Or do I have to turn it in person

National Notary Association

30 May 2019

Hello. Government Code 8209 says that within 30 days of a commission ending, all notarial records and papers must be delivered within 30 days to the clerk of the county in which the notary public's current official oath of office is on file. It does not specify if those records can be mailed or must be delivered in question. We would recommend contacting the county clerks office to confirm if they will accept a mailed delivery or not.

Kathleen M Olsen

28 May 2019

I have a company sponsored California notary commission which will expire in July 2019. Since I am retired now almost 3 years, I plan to resign my commission. Some of the entries that were completed by me for company executives are unsigned, for which I take full responsibility. In all cases the signer either forgot or were too rushed to sign my journal. When I turn my journals in, am I required to let the County Clerk know about these entries? Thank you for your response.

National Notary Association

30 May 2019

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.

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