|Words in an acknowledgement certificate will be interpreted according to the laws of the notary's state, not the state the author of the instrument is from, and not the state where the instrument will be filed. I know that in CA the "satisfactory evidence" mentioned in their certificate excludes personal knowledge. But I recall there are a few states where the notary law includes personal knowledge as a type of satisfactory evidence. So a notary in one of these few states could use a CA style certificate and personal knowledge and it would be correct. (Unless the state had some other problem with the CA certificate.|
Starting July 1, the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts will go into effect in my state; it's already in effect in WA I believe. That law requires either using the short form certificate specified in the law exactly, or using a certificate that spells out that the notary did everything required to lawfully take an acknowledgement. Since prepared certificates typically omit one or more required elements, starting July 1 I expect to replace most supplied certificates with short form certificates.
Before then I use the traditional wording in my state, and recommended in a pamphlet from the SOS, "...to me know to be the person(s) who executed the foregoing instrument...." I take it to mean I somehow know the person's name , and somehow know the person signed the instrument. For a particular signing, I might know the person's name because she showed me her driver's license, and I know she signed because I watched her sign.