I'm new here, but I'm sure not the only one who speaks Spanish. I would like to know what solutions you have used for the problem of the 2 surnames that are used in Spanish.

Which is the best solution for integrating both surnames into Civicrm?

PD. There should be an standard integrated solution to Civicrm, since Spanish is the most spoken language in the world after Chinese. ;)

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    just to clarify, the problem of having 2 surnames is not Spanish language specific, but Spain (the country) cultural way of identifying an Individual. Many countries in LatinAmerica, where Spanish is spoken, don't use 2 surnames for Individuals, only 1 surname is used and this "problem" is not a problem actually
    – luciano_s
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 8:33
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    Can you elaborate more on what problems it is causing for you. What things that you would like to do are not possible with both surnames stored in one field? Are the specific workflows that you are trying to accomplish that are not possible when they are both in a single field? Knowing a bit more about this will help people provide useful answers. Commented May 13, 2019 at 8:24

4 Answers 4


"Lastname" is the field intended to insert both surnames for the contacts they have. The translation of the field in Spanish also indicates it: "Apellidos".

For more than 5 years we have worked with CiviCRM and to date we still have not encountered any inconvenience in saving both surnames in a single field.


One 'cheap' approach that springs to mind would be to re-purpose the Middle name field. If you can live without the middle name field, this might be a good option for you.

You could use Word Replacement to replace all instances of Middle Name with Maternal surname and all instances of Last name with Paternal surname.

I haven't done this myself, and it might be that there are good arguments against doing it this way. I am interested in hearing any potential downsides from others who have tried / decided against this approach.

I think the answers/comments that Francesc and Luciano have given are very valid and based on pragmatism. They have been fine without it for 5 years. If there specific things that you can't do when they are in the same field, it would be good to know more about them so we can try and suggest way to address them. If the only motivation is to get the data structure right because it "is just plain bad coding and should be fixed", then there are other parts of the code that I would suggest fixing before this :)


for our clients in Colombia we made an extra field for the 2nd. Apellido. Nice feature for them. And this was a must for legal purposes. So it is possible to create extra name fields. [email protected]

  • Thx for contributing Leo. Could you expand this a bit eg how did you get it to show as part of the Summary display where the names show. how did you get it to work in Display Name and Sort Name - i think that might help Ricardo
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 20:01
  • Very glad to read this. How you implemented it? All the contact data that we receive in Puerto Rico uses the paternal and maternal lastnames, so this will really help us. Thanks in advance!
    – Ricardo
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 15:26

We use them separtly, and as such they should be available as are the surname and all other data fields. Civicrm is not fully internationalized until it respects other customs and cultures that are not from the english speaking world. This is just plain bad coding and should be fixed.

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    The good thing is: CiviCRM is Open Source Software. So, basically it is not only free to use for you, but you are also more than welcome to provide your own pull requests or extensions to improve and tweak the existing functionality. Should this be beyond your technical capabilities, you can also fund others to do this work for you. So there are many options, but blaming people who are trying to be helpful having an 'imperialist arrogance' is neither constructive nor an acceptable behavior.
    – Joachim
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 16:51
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    Hey there Ricardo. I don't agree that this is imperialism. CiviCRM is a community of individuals from around the world that are creating things that work for them and releasing them as open source so others can also benefit. All organisations (no matter where they are based) are going to find parts of CiviCRM that don't work perfectly for them. When they find these parts, they then have a choice: accept that it isn't perfect and use the parts that do work, or work to improving the parts that don't work for them. Commented May 13, 2019 at 8:38
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    Also, a tip on the Q+A format of this site: the stuff you have written above is more suited as either a comment on another post or a clarification to your question. It isn't really an answer to the question so shouldn't be added as an answer. Commented May 13, 2019 at 8:54

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