A notary journal is a record of the notarial acts performed by a notary public. Each journal entry should include the following:
- Date and time of the notarial act;
- Type of notarization;
- Date of document notarized;
- Type of document;
- Identification provided as proof of identity;
- Document signer's printed name;
- Document signer's address;
- Document signer's signature; and
- Any other relevant information related to the notarial act.
The notary should add a new journal entry for each notarial act performed and the entry should be completed prior to notarizing the document. If the notary is notarizing more than one document for a person, the notary should have a separate journal entry for each document notarized.
Although not required by law, a notary journal can protect the notary and document signer from any accusations of wrong doing and it also assists in the prevention of any wrong doing by the notary. Every journal entry is legally presumed to be truthful and it constitutes the notary's personal knowledge of the notarization performed.
If a notarized document is lost or altered or if certain facts about the transaction are later challenged, the journal becomes valuable evidence that can both protect the rights of property owners and help notaries defend themselves against false accusations.
A notarization is effective, valid and binding on the notary as long as the document on which is appears remains effective and valid. Therefore, if a notary keeps a journal, it becomes a permanent detailed record of all the notarizations performed.
If a notary decides to use a journal, the notary should use one that is permanently bound with pre-numbered empty spaces. A sample notary journal page can be found here (167kb pdf).