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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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11 Comments

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Jessica

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.

Artur

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.

Karen Fagundes

25 Apr 2019

Can a County Clerk's Office destroy journals before the required 10 year date of the last journal entry?

National Notary Association

26 Apr 2019

Hello Karen. What state and county are you referring to, please?

Karen Fagundes

26 Apr 2019

I am in CA, the County of Santa Cruz.

National Notary Association

30 Apr 2019

Hello. We do not have information on a rule or policy permitting early destruction of a Notary's journal records. California Notary law states that after 10 years from the date of a Notary journal's deposit with the county clerk, if no request for, or reference to such records has been made, they may be destroyed upon order of court (GC 8209).

Zane Killebrew

14 Jun 2019

Property was legally taken away and signed over to the party in question. Our grandmother signed a quick claim deed when she was in the hospital. We went to the county courthouse to look into the records of this transaction. The notary did not turn her books into the clerk's office at the county courthouse. That information came from the clerk who tried to find the records and could not. She was the one who told us about the laws and what to do. This notary in question has caused a great deal of hardship and pain in our family. I will not let this rest until she is held accountable for her negligence Thank You For Your Time

Jasmine

22 Aug 2019

Hello if my notary commission has already expire and I wanted to renew it am I able to? Im in California I wasn't keeping up with it but I still want it how do I figure out how to renew it? Do I still have to turn in my journal and stamp even though I am going to renew it?

National Notary Association

23 Aug 2019

Hello. If you need assistance with renewing your commission, you can contact the NNA's Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827.

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