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Ancient Roots of Notaries Public

Updated: Feb 23, 2022


According to the NNA, ancient notaries were first created long ago in 2750BC Africa. Egypt, to be exact. You see, recording documents was very important with the advent of hieroglyphics and official record keeping. Notaries were originally referred to as “sesh” or scribes. They, like historians, chronicled official communications in history by recording it for antiquity. All types of documents had to go through them to become official, including: personal letters, tax records, and official proclamations. It is believed that King Tut held notary writing skills in such high regard that he actually brought a quill and ink with him to the afterlife, via burying them inside his tomb.

Now, in ancient Rome, a man named Tiro also invented the notary profession. He developed a system called notae when he took down famous speeches of the orator, Cicero. Others who followed along the same note taking path were known as notarii. They were known as the “Notaries” or “Notarius.” Sounds fancy, huh? As literacy grew in Rome, so, too, did the need for these professional men. Eventually, the title of Notarius was exclusively used by people attached to high government officials, including principal governors and secretaries to the Emperor. They created written documents of agreements/wills and then held onto them for posterity. You can learn more here.

The notary profession has obviously been around for thousands of years. To this day, notaries are still important for the development of government, commerce, and an organized society according to NNA. Back then, everything had to be recorded face to face. What will the future of the Notarius hold? Well, in some states (like TN) there are already laws in place that allow people to get things notarized remote via the internet. You can learn more about Remote Online Notarizations here. Although ancient, notaries are still evolving every day to make life more convenient for you. Remember this any time you get something notarized because you will be apart of that legacy. King Tut would be proud!

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