Home > Records Management > Notarized vs. Certified Records

Notarized vs. Certified Records

May 18, 2016

Today, let’s look at the difference between a notarized and certified record.

A notarized record is simply a record signed in the presence of a notary.

Records are notarized to prevent fraud, as the notary ensures those signing a document have verified their identity. The notary then signs and attaches their seal to the record. After the record is signed, a notary certificate is attached to the record. Notaries do not authenticate the contents of the record.

A certified record is a copy of an original record verified to be a genuine copy and may be used as the original.

A record can be certified by a notary and other government officials. According to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, only “[n]otaries, county recorders, custodians of vital records, and certain other public officers [such as court clerks] may officially certify copies as agents of the government.” (https://notary.utah.gov/faqs/ )  These would have some sort of official seal on the record, other than a notary seal. A certified copy does not ensure the original is genuine, only that it is a true copy of the primary document.

For example, a birth certificate could be notarized IF the doctor and parents signed the certificate in the presence of a notary. That would be a lot of work. It is more common to get a certified copy of a birth certificate. An original birth certificate would be copied by a vital records custodian.

We hope to assist record officers in the meaning of some commonly used, and commonly misused terms found in information management. Please comment below to give us suggestions for future posts!

  1. Jacobs, Mia
    May 19, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Good Afternoon,

    This is great information….thank you for sharing ☺

    Mia Jacobs

    Records Director
    SLC Police Dept
    (801) 799-3552

  2. Kimberly C. Pilny
    July 6, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for the clarification. Perhaps you could help with a related matter. I received a “Certified Transcript of Birth” from the State of New York Dept. of Health, when I ordered & paid for a copy of my birth certificate, as was stated on their Dept. of Vital Records website. My state won’t accept what NY sent me, but NY said this is what they send for birth cert. copies now. I called the hospital where I was born in NY & the town clerk, among other places, but I was told that the transcript is all I can get. Why can I no longer get a copy of my own birth certificate?

  3. rebekkahshaw
    July 28, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Kimberly,
    I recommend you ask our great staff in the research room who may have an answer for you. You can reach them at 801-533-3535.

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