I have about 5000 records of my org. To be a "member" of our org we measure that by "household" so therefore there could be two or more people in the household.(we provide free legal advocacy to these people).

We have a unique identifier being a member number. Each member number could have say two people under that one number, being a married couple.

I have used the import contacts feature in Civi to import "individuals" because if I import them as "households" there dosnt seem to be a name field for the household show up after import. ie it shows the address and city etc but "name" is blank and it dosnt assist our org by not having a member name to identify the household.

So i added individuals. My frustration at this program is that despite spending multitudes of time reading the documentation, i cant import the spouse name into the program that creates a relationship.

Is there any way to get assistance on this issue. Happy to share the csv of our database if it assists in comprehending our data.

  • Your question is not clear to me. Let's say you have a household that consist of Abigail Kendall and Fred Smith, a couple and their two children Juanita and Marcus. From your description It seems that the Kendall-Smith Household is the member of your organisation. When you imported you records, would you have imported four records, one each for each Abigail, Fred, Juanita and Marcus. If not, what would you have done? Typically in CiviCRM you would have an "Individual" record for each person and a household record and you would link the individuals to the household via relationships.
    – JoAnne
    Jul 18, 2015 at 9:47
  • It sounds like you'd just as soon have just the household and bother with the individuals but for some reason you couldn't get the household name to import. So what are the columns in your cvs and what did you map them to in the import (Matching CiviCRM Field)? With the relationship import again what are the cvs columns and mapping. You could take a screen shot of the second screen of the import where the mapping is done and post that as part of your question.
    – Paul-Tahoe
    Jul 18, 2015 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


There are a couple of ways to do this, but here is the one that I prefer.

  1. Decide how you'll name households. CiviCRM household names are arbitrary, so you can so something like "Jane and John Smith" or "Smith Household". Use a spreadsheet function to populate that field in your spreadsheet.

  2. Import the households as households. Include your membership number as External Identifier. Include your new Household Name field.

  3. Create a unique identifier for your individuals as a new field. Use a spreadsheet function to append "A" to the member number on the first spouse and "B" to the member number on the second. The result would be that you have member number 1234 and individual number 1234A on the one spouse and member 1234 and individual 1234B on the other. On the second spouse, add another field with the individual number of the first spouse.

  4. Import your individuals with numbers ending in A. Include the member number, and import the field as "Household of - External Identifier". Include the new -A number you created as External Identifier.

  5. Import the "B" spouses as individuals. Include the member number to create the household relationship and the -B number as the External Identifier. Finally, include the corresponding -A number as "Spouse of - External Identifier".

The result should be households that have relationships with the individuals and individuals with relationships to each other.

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