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Can I Destroy My Notary Journals?

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I understand that after my commission ends, my journals need to be turned into the county recorder. But since I have been a notary for over 20 years, I have journals stacking up. What must/can I do with them? I read somewhere that I could destroy them after a certain time period, but don’t know what that is for California?C.R., California

If a California Notary resigns, is disqualified, is removed from office or allows their commission to expire without obtaining another commission within 30 days, then their notarial records must be delivered to the county clerk’s office where their oath of office and bond are on file within 30 days of resignation, revocation or expiration. It is a misdemeanor for any person to purposely destroy, deface or conceal a Notary’s journal. A person who does so is liable for damages suffered by any person as a result (Government Code, Sections 8209 and 8221).

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

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07 Nov 2016

So, does that mean that for as long as our commissions are active or we keep renewing, then for the life of our notary career, we must keep EVERY single journal?

National Notary Association

09 Nov 2016

Hello. For California Notaries, this is correct. However, Notaries in other states would follow their own state's laws regarding journal storage and disposal.


07 Nov 2016

Do you realize that your answer does not address C.R.'s question? What should be done with journal that he has kept for 20 years. Can s/he surrender some of the old ones to the county? Can s/he destroy them after 10 years?

National Notary Association

09 Nov 2016

Hello. As stated in the article above, in California it is a misdemeanor for any person to purposely destroy, deface or conceal a Notary’s journal. So California Notaries are not permitted to destroy old journals.

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