Series 388
Secretary of State Notaries public commissions registers

Dates: i 1887-1954.

8.50 cubic feetSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Scope and Content

The territorial legislature in 1851 provided for the election of notary publics by a joint vote of both houses. The notaries' bonds and oaths were filed with the county probate court. A record of their commissions was kept by the territorial secretary as part of the Executive record books, series 242. However, in 1874 the federal government found this to be in violation of the federal organic act and changed the procedure. Thereafter notaries were directly appointed by the governor, and their papers were filed with the secretary of the territory. From 1875 to 1888 a list of notaries was maintained as part of a general register, in series 352, in which were recorded all commissions issued by the governor.

The number of notaries per county continually increased, and separate registers for the notaries' commissions were kept starting in 1887. Complete copies of the certificates of commission were recorded in these registers. These are printed forms with blanks in which the secretary recorded the individual's name, date of appointment, county, governor's name, and date of commission, with a place for a copy of the governor's and secretary's signatures. The commission was followed by a copy of the notary's oath of office which consisted of a disavowal of polygamy. Again, the oath was a printed form with blanks in which to record the county, age, place of business, and marital status of the notary along with copies of the signatures of himself, witnesses, and the secretary.

The same printed format continued into statehood in 1896, however the oath was dropped entirely until 1898. In 1898 a new, shorter oath became part of the form. The new oath was simply a vow to defend the federal and state constitutions and to faithfully discharge the duties of the office.

An abbreviated format was reinstituted in 1919. A complete copy of the certificate of commission and oath was no longer kept. Instead the registers contained a list of all notaries and recorded for each the date of commission, the individual's name, county, post office, date of bond and oath, name(s) of sureties, and date of expiration. At the head of every page was a printed statement certifying that a bond and oath had been filed with the secretary of state, and that the individual had been commissioned and was therefore authorized to perform his duties.


Volumes are arranged chronologically. The volumes from the territorial period were assigned alphabetical labels, A-D. After statehood in 1896, the volumes were assigned numerical labels, 1-7, until all labeling was dropped with the format change in 1919. Entries in the first eleven volumes, those which contain complete copies of commission certificates, are chronological with alphabetized indices. The remaining five books maintain the lists broken up alphabetically by the first letter of the individual's surname and by date thereafter.

Related Records

Territorial executive papers from the Territorial Secretary, Series 241, contain documents which support selection of notaries represented in this series.

Executive record books from the Secretary of State, Series 242, record appointments which are also recorded in this series.

Commission registers from the Secretary of State, Series 352, contain some of the same information as this series.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

Processed by A.C. Cone, 1989.

Finding Aids

Indexes: The first eleven volumes are indexed by the first letter of the notary's surname. The entries themselves are recorded alphabetically in the remaining volumes, covering from 1887 thru 1954, and from 1887 thru 1919.

Indexing Terms

  • Notaries—Utah.
  • Utah—Officials and employees—Selection and appointment.

Container List

1 A Mar. 10, 1887-Oct. 25, 1888
2 B Oct. 27, 1888-Oct. 4, 1890
3 C Oct. 6, 1890-Apr. 21, 1893
4 D Apr. 22, 1893-Jan. 3, 1896
5 1 Jan. 7, 1896-Jan. 17, 1898
6 2 Jan. 19, 1898-Feb. 1, 1904
7 3 Feb. 1, 1904-Mar. 19, 1908
8 4 Mar. 21, 1908-July 17, 1911
9 5 July 18, 1911-July 2, 1914
10 6 July 2, 1914-May 23, 1917
11 7 May 23, 1917-Apr. 28, 1919
12 May 1, 1919-Dec. 30, 1929
13 Jan. 3, 1930-May 31, 1938
14 May 2, 1938-Aug. 1, 1945
15 Aug. 1, 1945-July 31, 1950
16 Aug. 1, 1950-Dec. 31, 1954

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.