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Resources > Glossary > Personally Known

Glossary of Notary Public, Mortgage, Signing Agent, and Loan Signing Terms.

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Common Terms 1   Common Terms 2

Personally Known

Phonetics: per·son·al·ly known

Function: adjective

Definition 1:
Familiarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that individual over a period of time sufficient to eliminate every reasonable doubt that the individual has the identity claimed. an acquaintance, derived from association with the individual in relation to other people and based upon a chain of circumstances surrounding the individual, which establishes the individual's identity with at least reasonable certainty. A signer must either have their identity proven on the basis of satisfactory evidence which means proper identification or credible identifying witnesses, or be personally known to the notary in many states, in order to have their signature notarized.

Definition 2:
Most states no longer accept the fact that a signer is personally known to be adequate identification for a notarization. The law making it possible to notarize someone based on personal knowledge is very antiquated and was drafted in the days when most people lived in small towns or neighborhoods where people knew each other well. These days people live in larger towns and cities and don't know their neighbors or business associates well enough to identify them for the purpose of a notarization.

Definition 3:
For states that do permit personal knowledge of a signer, it is common for the notary acnowledgment form to have verbiage similar to, "Personally appeared, (name), who is personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person who's name is subscribed within the instrument and who acknowledged that .....". Additionally, it is common for notary journals to have three check boxes to document how the signer was identified. One box is for personally known, another for identification document, and the third is for the use of credible witnesses.

Thesaurus / Related Terms
Identification of Signer
Satisfactory Evidence
Credible Witness
Payment Letter to Borrowers
Credible Witness