|LisaKT/CA wrote "Seems VT law was written for small town populations where everyone knew/knows everyone else."|
I think the big city / small town difference would influence HOW you check ID, not WHETHER you check ID. Throughout the country, it's been traditional for centuries for the notary to know the identity of the person while taking an acknowledgement. The small-town nature of Vermont is probably why there was no urgency in passing a law to tell how notaries should establish identity while taking an acknowledgement.
Conversely, it has long been the custom that it isn't necessary to establish the identity of a person taking an oath; it is only in the last few decades that SOME states have decided notaries should establish the ID of people taking oaths.
I'm not sure why it wasn't traditional to require ID to take an oath. Maybe it has to do with the chicken-and-egg problem: if you don't have any ID, how can you get ID? I remember in my case, I had to take an oath before a DMV examiner to get my first driver license. I didn't have any ID other than a birth certificate and maybe a social security card. It may also have the right of a person to speak for themselves in court and before government boards and committees, even if they don't have ID