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Notary Services Glossary beginning with F

Brosgall Legal's glossary covers useful Apostille and Notary Public terms.
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Human interest in the ridges and furrows of the skin has existed for thousands of years. Nowever, it is only since the late 1800's that investigators have recognised their use as a means of identification.

Fingerprints were first used on documents from ancient Babylonia and on clay sealings from ancient China. Fingerprints have been found on ancient Babylonian clay tablets, seals, and pottery. They have also been found on the walls of Egyptian tombs and on Minoan, Greek, and Chinese pottery, as well as on bricks and tiles from ancient Babylon and Rome. Some of these fingerprints were deposited unintentionally by the potters and masons as a natural consequence of their work, and others were made in the process of adding decoration. However, on some pottery, fingerprints have been impressed so deeply into the clay that they were possibly intended to serve as an identifying mark by the maker. Dr. Harold Cummins, a dermatoglyphics specialist, was asked to report to the Smithsonian Institute in 1941 on the question whether ancient people had any understanding of the uniqueness of fingerprints. After examining a wide range of material, Cummins concluded that these ancient fingerprints were only meant as marks, but not as anything that could be used to identify its specific maker. Cummins likened the use of fingerprints to that of an illiterate person signing a document with an 'X'. The mark is meant to validate the document but can not be traced to the individual.

Although ancient peoples probably did not realize that fingerprints could uniquely identify individuals, references from the age of the Babylonian king Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE) indicate that law officials would take the fingerprints of people who had been arrested. During China's Qin Dynasty, records have shown that officials took hand, foot and finger prints as evidence from crime scenes. In China, around 300 CE, handprints were used as evidence in a trial for theft. By 650, the Chinese historian Kia Kung-Yen remarked that fingerprints could be used as a means of authentication. In his Jami al-Tawarikh (Universal History), the Persian physician Rashid-al-Din Hamadani (also known as "Rashideddin", 1247-1318) refers to the Chinese practice of identifying people via their fingerprints, commenting: 'Experience shows that no two individuals have fingers exactly alike'. In Persia at this time, government documents may also have been authenticated with thumbprints.

The science of fingerprinting and DNA analysis has evolved dramatically, and are now important forensic tools.


A false signature, written document or other creation made to imitate the true signature, document, or creation, with the intent to defraud.

Form 10 (Certificate of Identity)

For Authentication and Legalization, the Society of Notaries of B.C. require regular Notaries to prepare a Form 10 (International Certificate of Identity). The Notary prepares the Certificate of Identity, attaches any required documents, and sends the package to the Society of Notaries. The Society of Notaries authenticates the Notary's signature. The completed Form 10 and the attached documents are then forwarded to the appropriate provincial agency for further authentication, and then to the foreign Consulate in Vancouver for legalization.

Free Act and Deed

Sometimes found in acknowledgment notarial certificates (see Acknowledgment Certificate) to indicate that the signer was not coerced (see Coercion) into signing the document.