How to obtain authentication of documents
The Clerk of Courts office certifies public records maintained in their office when necessary, and in turn, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office authenticates the certification of those public records when required. Any document previously certified by a government office (i.e. Clerk of Courts of Common Pleas), that is presented to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office for authentication must satisfy certain requirements before the Ohio Secretary of State’s office will authenticate it. A document presented to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office for authentication must bear (1) the signature of the elected or appointed holder of the office that certified the document, and (2) the seal of that office.
To obtain authentication of certified documents, (for example, paperwork required in an adoption process), the procedure is as follows:
1. Contact the Clerk of Courts office at (419) 668-5113 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular business hours at the Huron County Clerk of Courts office are hours 8 – 4:30 Monday through Thursday and 8AM to Noon on Friday, excluding holidays.
2. Give the name(s) of the notary(ies) who notarized the documents which need authentication and the date of expiration of his/her current notary, as well as the county of residence of the notary. Our Clerk of Courts office only maintains records of notaries who reside in Huron County, and therefore, can only certify those records which have been recorded in Huron County.
3. The Clerk of Courts office will look up and verify that the name(s) of the notary(ies) are recorded here in Huron County.
4. Please state how many documents you have which require authentication.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING (per the Ohio Secretary of State’s office):
Because the records maintained in the secretary of state’s office do not include the names of employees who may have been designated to certify documents on behalf of an elected or appointed office holder, the secretary of state’s office will not authenticate a document if the certification affixed thereto is signed by anyone other than the officeholder.
5. The Clerk of Courts office must prepare a Certificate Official Character form for EACH document which requires authentication by the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. Please specify how many documents you have requiring authentication when contacting the Clerk of Courts office. There is a cost of $1.00 for EACH Certificate Official Character form.
6. With advanced notice, the Clerk of Courts office will make every effort to prepare paperwork ahead of time prior to the arrival of the person requiring this service.
7. Upon completion of the Certificate Official Character form(s) by the Clerk of Courts office, you will be given a procedural handout for reference with information regarding where to mail your document(s) with the Certificate Official Character form(s) for authentication of the certification(s) by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office as described in item #8 and #9 below.
8. The person requesting authentication needs to send the Certificate Official Character form(s) and the original document(s) bearing the notary’s signature to the Ohio Secretary of State with a check for $5.00 and a letter stating what country it is needed for. It is very important to specify what country it is needed for as the requirements vary from country to country.
Mail to: Ohio Secretary of State
Attn: Election Division
180 E. Broad Street
Columbus OH 43215
Phone: (614) 466-2655
9. Once the Ohio Secretary of State’s office receives the required information, they will prepare the Apostille and mail it back to the person requesting authentication. It is then the responsibility of that person to forward all the documents to the country requesting the information.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS ABOUT BECOMING A NOTARY
HURON COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT
2 East Main Street, Courthouse
NORWALK, OHIO 44857
Common Pleas Phone ….. (419) 668-6162
Clerk’s Office Phone ….. (419) 668-5113
Fax….. (419) 663-4048