The need to notarize

Time travel - Notaries and Ledgers

The origins of notaries can be traced back to Ancient Egypt as early as ~2750 B.C. The recording of events, such as official proclamations, tax records and other documents were recorded by persons educated in the art of writing, also called scribes. Next to governmental functions, this function also filled the position of accountancy. Old papyrus ledgers were recovered that were tracking movement in and out of storehouses. These old financial management book of sorts formed early payment recordings.

alt text A pictographic tablet from ancient Mesopotamians, most likely documenting grain ca. 3100-2900 B.C. image source.

A very notable massive collection of papyrus documents was formed around 300 A.D. in Roman Egypt - the Heroninos Archive. That ledger was related to the management of private estate, one of the largest at that time. The recordings hold each and every act of buying and selling, in other words transactions between parties, which result in new entries in the ledger - basically a change of records.


Generally speaking, ledgers are financial management books that track the balance of various assets in accounts. Those assets can take various forms, such as crop, real estate, bonds(debt) and money, to name a few. So called transactions result in changes of those accounts and manipulate balances.


Traditionally a notary gains political authority by being registered at their respective governments. A notary's duty involves to screen the true identities of the signees (the people involved in signing the contract), their willingness to sign the documents (no pressure, intimidation), and their awareness of the contents. Among others, a notary is bound not to get involved, where action could be corrupted by self-interest. Notaries also keep their own records and protocols of transactions (verified contracts). In summary, a notary is bound to many duties in order to deter fraud and to check whether the signees freely choose to participate in the legally binding contract.


Are you curious about what else notaries do? The national notary association's knowledge-center is a good place to find out more!