An acknowledgment is the act of certifying the execution of an instrument. Judges and clerks of courts of record are authorized to take acknowledgments. In some states where a statute authorizes acknowledgment before judges or officers of courts of record, the judge or officer is required to state in the certificate that his/her court is a court of record.
Seals or their equivalent are necessary for validating an acknowledgement in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
However, in some states, courts sustain acknowledgements made without a certification by the judge or officer that his/her court is a court of record. For instance, in Pierce v. Hakes, 23 Pa. 231 (Pa. 1854) the court held that the acknowledgment of a deed before a judge of a Court in New York is “not void under the statute, because of the omission of the judge to certify that his Court was a Court of record, if the laws of that state show it to be so.”