Notary Public Day
Notary Public Day was first celebrated in 1975, and was created to "recognize notaries for their public service and their contributions to national and international commerce." Notaries are trusted public officials who perform a number of tasks to help society function, often by serving as impartial witnesses to commercial and private transactions, bringing certainty and integrity to the transactions. Typically, notaries public are involved in the signing of documents, where they attest to the identity of signers, acknowledge the signers' comprehension of the document and willingness to sign it, and make sure that the contents of the documents are true. Notaries then usually complete a "notarial certificate" that they sign, and often seal, which attests to the legitimacy of the signed document. Besides this function, a notary may be authorized to administer oaths and affirmations, make attested photocopies, issue protests of notes and bills, witness the opening of safety deposit boxes and certify their contents, issue subpoenas, or perform civil marriage ceremonies. The scope of the notary's duties is determined by the rules of the state they work in.
Notaries have played a role in society since Roman times, and the word "notary" comes from the Latin word "nota", which was a system of shorthand developed by Cicero's clerk, M. Tullius Tiro, to take down Cicero's speeches. The shorthand began being used by those drafting agreements, and the writers became known as "notarii". As the Roman Empire spread, so did the use of notaries. Notaries were also used by the early Catholic Church. England had notaries in the Middle Ages, but they did not gain the same prominence as they had in Rome. One reason for this was because England used common law—law derived from judicial decisions—not civil law as Rome had. When settlers came to North America from England, they brought the tradition of the notary with them, but where the tradition of the notary gained the strongest foothold was in Louisiana, where the French followed civil law. America's first notary was Thomas Fugill, who was appointed on November 7, 1639. That is why Notary Public Day occurs today!
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by saying thanks to a notary public! Maybe there is a reason a notary public could be of service to you today, and you could look for one in your area. Maybe you would like to become a notary public yourself, and could celebrate the day by researching how to do so.