csv file has name of both husband and wife as well as the same address field. Separate cell phone #s but same home #.


This is an excellent question, and it has more to do with how you want to use your data than with the technology.

Most CRM experts will tell you that the "right" way is to make the husband and wife each into their own contact, and create a "spouse" relationship between the two. You could also consider using "address sharing" so that updating one address updates both, if you like - though I don't think there's a way to do that from an import.

Of course, the reality is that if it would be a ton of work to handle them separately (e.g. the spouses' names in the CSV aren't in separate columns) and you only deal with them together, you could "cheat" and upload them as a single contact.

Assuming you want to do it the "right" way, I would do the following:

  • Add a new column called "spouse identifier", which is a serial number: 1, 2, 3 etc.
  • Import the first spouse, with their name, cell #, address, etc.
  • For columns that belong exclusively to the spouse, use the "related contact info" to select "Spouse Of" (see screenshots 1 and 2 below).
  • Finally, do the same with "spouse identifier", setting the field to the "Spouse Of" "External Identifier".

When you're done with this import, you're almost there - you'll have both spouses imported, each with their own cell #. The shared contact info will be on the first spouse but not the second spouse.

To add the shared contact info to the second spouse, import a second time. However:

  • Only import the "spouse identifier" field and any shared contact info fields. Don't import any other columns.

CiviCRM will use the external identifier to understand that you're adding additional contact info to the second spouse.

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  • Thank you for such a detailed response. The first part went great. I got the names loaded and the individual fields. When i went to load the shared fields (home address & home phone) it did not update the record (even though it said that the records were updated.) The only thing i noticed was that the external identifier was not showing on the secondary contact. So for example if mr jones was external identifier 1, mrs jones external identifier was left blank. What did I miss? – Melinda Jan 16 '18 at 19:47
  • It sounds like you set the "spouse identifier" to import as the "external identifier", rather than the "spouse of - external identifier". Otherwise it would be appearing on Mrs. Jones' record, which was the intent. If you have a way to roll back and redo, go ahead and do that! If not, create a second column "spouse identifier 2". Fill it with unique identifiers (e.g. instead of starting at "1", start at "10001" so there's no overlap). Then reimport JUST "spouse identifier" and "spouse identifier 2" - set "spouse identifier 2" to the spouse ("Mrs. Jones"). – Jon G - Megaphone Tech Jan 16 '18 at 23:45
  • Once you've done that, you can do the final import again - but use "spouse identifier 2" where you'd use "spouse identifier". Note that you may have overwritten Mr. Jones' cell # with Mrs. Jones already, so you may need to reimport those! – Jon G - Megaphone Tech Jan 16 '18 at 23:46
  • Glad I could help Melinda! If you have follow-up questions, find me at chat.civicrm.org, my username is "junglebird". – Jon G - Megaphone Tech Jan 17 '18 at 21:50

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