We continue to generate duplicate contacts in situations where an individual uses different variants of their first name. E.G. (Robert, Rob, Bob, Bobby) or (William, Bill, Billy) or (Rick, Rich, Richard, Dick). We have to dedupe and merge these redundant duplicates again and again.

The problem arises frequently as our contacts typically are not users in the CMS so aren't logged in.

Is there a way to have a dedupe rule that requires a match of first, last, and email, but is able to look at multiple alternative first names for a match. Then if we find that a person uses both Bill and William, we could add William as an AKA and not continue to generate the duplicates.

I could imagine having a custom field of AKA, and I could set up a weighted rule where we award e.g. 5 points to a match of Newfirst and first, OR Newfirst and AKA.

I've searched for this topic and couldn't find anything, but if there's an answer out there, please point me to it.

Thanks, Rick

  • Have you tried using the nickname field as an AKA?
    – Andy Clark
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 16:50
  • what triggers most people to go to your site and fill in an empty form? is it a link you send out via an email? (if so using checksums would land them on the form with it pre-filled - mentioning just in case that helps reduce duplicates being created)
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 18:01
  • Pete - it doesn't solve all our problems, but nonetheless that's a great idea - I vaguely remember that (at least in Drupal) use of the checksum brings the person to the link as though they are logged in. Do you know whether, in the situation where we have a contact but no user account (Wordpress), the trick still works? Is there any such thing as being identified as a contact without actually having a wordpress user account? Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 12:22
  • Andy, I had never noticed the nickname field. I had planned to just create a new custom field for AKA or something like that. I wonder if some clever person extended the name and email dedupe rule to check the nickname as well as the regular name? I'll do an experiment and see if this resolves the problem. Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 12:31
  • Andy, I tried this: - define new dedupe rule name or nickname - 1 point for matching first name, 1 point for last name 2 points for email and 1 point for nickname - when registering using the nickname in the first name field, it is not checked against nickname - so using my contact's nickname in the registration creates a duplicate contact with the first name = the nickname Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


OK, I believe Eileen's "Deduper" extension is just about the answer I needed - I haven't completely grokked the user interface, but I'm confident that those of us who really want to successfully deal with nick names and AKAs will find the answer here.



Deduper extension release 1.4 Release 1.4 of the deduper extension is now released. This contains a number of additional resolvers that the Wikimedia Foundations uses to enable more duplicate contacts to be merged without manual intervention. CiviCRM provides a UI and a script for merging contacts individually or in batches. In addition the deduper provides it’s own UI. In all these place a ‘safe’ merge will attempt to merge 2 contacts and refuse to merge them if they are in conflict. The resolvers attempt to resolve the conflict to [sic] (so?) the merge can be completed. New resolvers include (laundry list of resolvers follows..) The diacritics resolver - chooses José over Jose ...... Nick name resolver - saves and uses known nicknames. .......

Going further, Eileen's blog post provides an interface for defining, editing and extending the nick name rules, e.g. I can indicate that Ted is a nick name for Edward, etc.

Take a look at this post and you will see the screenshots for how this works.. https://civicrm.org/blog/eileen/leveraging-search-kit-deduper

(Having posted all this, I need to say I haven't completely figured out how it all works, but I'm confident that Eileen's solution will take most of the pain out of nick names and since I believe a number of people are following this, I wanted to get the word out for those who weren't aware of Deduper extension and the search kit ehnancements)

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