Merging duplicate contacts and children
From time to time you may discover duplicate people records in your database. Ordinarily, these can be identified using the Duplicated Contacts and Duplicated Children reports in the respective module's Reports section (in the Data Cleansing section). The report includes a 'Match on' filter that can be used to set criteria for identifying possible duplicate people.
A note about the intended functionality
The Duplicated Contacts and Duplicated Children reports are designed to show all possible merge combinations where multiple people could be duplicates of each other. Consider this potential duplicate example: person A, B, and C...
An entry for person A - allows you to confirm that A+B or A+C are not duplicates.
An entry for person B - allows you to confirm that B+A or B+C are not duplicates.
An entry for person C - allows you to confirm that C+A or C+B are not duplicates.
The overlap between these entries covers all nine combinations. Additionally, depending on the matching filters chosen, potential duplicates may not necessarily be next to each other within the report's results. For this reason, we intentionally show all the merge possibilities.
Additionally, when viewing a contact or child's profile page, you might also see an Information message alerting you to a potential duplicate, with the option to Merge (explained below) or Ignore (which will dismiss the message and prevent it from appearing again). You can Undo ignore from the respective Duplicated Contacts and Duplicated Children reports.
The merge workflow can also be used to merge any two contacts or any two children, even if they are not duplicates - choose Merge from the More actions menu:
Simply search and select the Contact to delete or Child to delete:
The merge workflow is the same in the Address Book and Children modules. In the remainder of this article, we'll focus on how to merge contacts in the Address Book.
Merging duplicate people
Selecting Merge from the Duplicated Contacts/Children report or from a person's profile (shown above) will open the Merge pop-up, showing the Person to keep on the left - the person you were viewing when selecting Merge - and the Person to delete on the right - the duplicate. It's important to remember that during the merge process, information selected for retention (explained below) will be merged into the Person to keep - the Person to delete will be deleted.
Working methodically down the pop-up, selecting which elements of data to merge and retain in the Person to keep. The merge process will overwrite existing data for that person. Note that a choice is only given for data that differs - data that is the same is shown but is not editable. When you are happy with your selections, click Save to complete the merge process. This process is irreversible.
A merge record and details of any changes made to the merged person are shown in the Changes log, and a record of the deleted person is added to the Deleted Contacts or Deleted Children report.
What data is merged?
Beyond the selectable details shown in the Merge pop-up, the following additional data is also merged and retained:
- Fixed Tags (and Smart Tags if the merged contact continues to meet your Smart Tag conditions)
- Key Dates and key date descriptions
- Notes - including Note visibility restrictions
- Historic Communication, Changes logs and Recent Logins
- If the Contact to keep and Contact to delete are in the same Flow but at different Stages, the contact to keep progress is retained
- If either Contact to keep or Contact to delete is a Flow overseer, that is also retained
- Linking to children of the Contact to keep and the contact to delete are retained
- All event sign-up data (historic and future events), including card payment transaction logs, event question responses, etc. If either Contact to keep or Contact to delete is an event overseer, that is also retained
- Small group membership (inc past, active and future group sign-ups), small group attendance, small group roles and if either contact is a Cluster overseer contact
- Rotas - including all team and role assignments for Ministries, all Rota assignments (past, current and future), including roles. If either contact is a Ministry overseer, that is also retained
- If the Contact to keep has a linked Giver profile, that link is retained but the Contact to delete linking is severed and changed to a "Not In Address Book" giver profile (i.e. an unlinked giver)
- If the Contact to delete has a linked Giver profile but the Contact to keep does not, the Contact to delete Giver profile will be re-linked to the Merged Contact to keep
- All attendance module weekly attendance record data
- Booking customer linking
- If the Contact to keep has a linked Customer profile, that link is retained but the Contact to delete linking is severed and changed to a "Not In Address Book" customer profile (i.e. an unlinked customer)
- If the Contact to delete has a linked Customer profile but the Contact to keep does not, the Contact to delete Customer profile will be re-linked to the Merged contact to keep
- Team attendance is preserved where either contact has been recorded as being in attendance for all historic child group attendance
- Linked Users - only the Contact to keep's link to a ChurchSuite User profile is retained. If a User profile is linked to Contact to delete, the link is severed but the User profile remains intact
- Profile images - all profile images are merged, allowing you the option to remove one or both images after the merge is completed
- Integrations - where either contact is used in any ChurchSuite Integration e.g. MailChimp, Planning Center, Textlocal - the merged contact must be re-linked after the merge is complete. It is not possible to retain integration links for merged contacts.
- Multi-site - For contacts or children belonging to different sites, a radio option is provided to choose the Site of the merged person retained - it is not possible to combine the sites of duplicated people during the merge process
Merging duplicate children
- The parents/carers of Child to keep and Child to delete are retained against the merged child
- Gathering/Group membership, historic child attendance, and check-in/out times are merged and retained