notary public (noh-t<<schwa>>-ree), n. A person authorized by a state to administer oaths, certify documents, attest to the authenticity of signatures, and perform official acts in commercial matters, such as protesting negotiable instruments. — Often shortened to notary. [Cases: Notaries
1. C.J.S. Notaries § 2.] — Abbr. n.p. Pl. notaries public. — notarize,vb. — notarial,adj.
“A notary public is an officer long known to the civil law, and designated as registrarius, actuarius, or scrivarius.” John Proffatt, A Treatise on the Law Relating to the Office and Duties of Notaries Public§ 1, at 1 (John F. Tyler & John J. Stephens eds., 2d ed. 1892).
“The notary public, or notary, is an official known in nearly all civilized countries. The office is of ancient origin. In Rome, during the republic, it existed, the title being tabelliones forenses, or personae publicae; and there are records of the appointment of notaries by the Frankish kings and the Popes as early as the ninth century. They were chiefly employed in drawing up legal documents; as scribes or scriveners they took minutes and made short drafts of writings, either ofa public or a private nature. In modern times their more characteristic duty is to attest the genuineness of any deeds or writings, in order to render the same available as evidence of the facts therein contained.” Benjamin F. Rex, The Notaries’ Manual§ 1, at 1–2 (J.H. McMillan ed., 6th ed. 1913).
“In jurisdictions where the civilian law prevails, such as in the countries of continental Europe, a notary public is a public official who serves as a public witness of facts transacted by private parties … and also serves as impartial legal advisor for the parties involved…. In colonial Louisiana, the notary public had the same rank and dignity as his continental civilian ancestor…. Although notaries still constitute a protected profession in present-day Louisiana, holding office for life provided they renew their bonds periodically in compliance with the governing statute, the importance of their function has diminished over the years to the point that it has been said that a Louisiana notary is no longer a truly civilian notary. Indeed, the trained lawyer is nowadays the Louisiana, and American, counterpart of the continental civilian notary.” Saul Litvinoff, 5 Louisiana Civil Law Treatise: The Law of Obligations 296–97 (2d ed. 2001).
[Blacks Law 8th]