Back in the old days, the job of being a Notary in America was quite different. First of all, back then, all Notaries were men and presumably white men. Now, the field is disproportionally black women!
Colonial Notaries had to record personal information about their clients such as who was having an affair, illegitimate children, who was a witch (that would be most of Salem, MA) and who showed their ankles in public.
Since people rarely left their towns in the old days it was easier to identify a signer. Everybody knew each other back then. Today, we don’t know hardly any of our neighbors. With technology today, we can go for weeks without physically seeing our bosses, or clients. Identification documents back in the old days would be documents. However, without photographs, it would be possible to steal those documents from someone and possibly imposter them. My, how times have changed.
Since people didn’t drive cars in the 1700’s, the need for a driver’s license wasn’t there. But, what about a passport?
In the old days, counties appointed a particular number of Notaries based on the size of the population. It is different these days as there is no limit to how many Notaries a state could have. Having so many Notaries makes the price of notarizations go down due to increased competition.>