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 determine the criteria used to identify possible duplicate people.

A note about intended functionality

The report is designed to include all combinations of merging possible duplicates. Where you have multiple people who could be duplicates of each other, e.g. person A, B and C, we display all the possible permutations:

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.

Clearly there is overlap between these entries, however they are required in order to cover all of the different permutations in full. Additionally, depending on which "matching" filter you select to detect duplicates, potential duplicates may be spread around the report in different places, not next to each other. For this reason we intentionally expand the different possibilities in full.

Additionally, when viewing a person's profile page you are also alerted to a potential duplicate when there is an exact match based on first name and last name.

The merge functionality is identical in both the Address Book and Children modules. In the remainder of this article we'll focus on how it works in the Address Book. In both the above places where duplicate people are surfaced, you have the option to click on the potential duplicate person's name to further investigate, and then to either Merge or Ignore the duplicate person. Where the people are not duplicates - for example, if you really do have two people with the same first name and last name - clicking Ignore will prevent further warnings for both the person being viewed and also for the potential duplicate person identified.

Let's now look at what happens when we select to merge two people that have been reviewed and confirmed as being duplicated records...

Clicking Merge from a duplicate person's profile page (or from the Duplicate Contacts report) will open the Merge contacts page to view.

Notice how the page shows Contact 1 on the left and the duplicate of that person as Contact 2 on the right. During the merge process, all information (outlined in detail later in this article) will be merged into Contact 1 and be retained, and Contact 2 will be permanently deleted. Click Swap contacts to reverse Contact 1 and Contact 2.

Working down the Merge contacts page, notice the option to select which elements of personal information are to be retained for each field. You can only select an option where a piece of information is different - no clickable radio button is shown where the data is already identical.

Work you way down the fields selecting as appropriate. The Merge page takes you through the following sections (depending on your modules and module settings):

  • Personal information (name, sex, DOB, marital status, spouse/partner, Site, etc.)
  • Address
  • Contact details (phone, email, etc.)
  • Communication options
  • My ChurchSuite and Privacy settings
  • Custom fields
  • Student details (if one of the people has student details recorded)
  • My ChurchSuite data

The Additional Data section lists all the other linked data that will be merged. Note that it is not possible to choose not to merge one or more elements of the linked data - for example, you cannot not merge Notes - all Notes for contact_2 will be merged into contact_1. When you are finished, click Save to complete the merge or click Cancel to abort.

A note of the merge is added to the merged person's Changes log to indicate the person's data has been merged, the changes that were made as a result of the merge, and the date, time and the User that performed the merge operation.

Beyond the radio button options provided in the Merge page, the following additional data is also merged and retained.

  • Fixed Tags (Smart Tags too, 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.
  • Flows (In the event both Contact 1 and Contact 2 are in the same Flow but at different Stages, Contact 1's progress is retained). If either Contact 1 or Contact 2 is a Flow overseer, that is also retained.
  • Linking to children of Contact 1 and Contact 2 are retained.
  • All event sign-up data (historic and future events), including card payment transaction logs, event question responses, etc. If Contact 1 or Contact 2 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 Contact 1 or Contact 2 is a Ministry overseer, that is also retained.
  • Giving - If Contact 1 has a linked Giver profile, that link is retained and Contact 2's linking to a Giver profile is severed and the previously-linked Giver profile changed to "Not In Address Book" (i.e. an unlinked giver). If Contact 2 has a linked Giver profile but Contact 1 does not, Contact 2's Giver profile is linked to the Merged contact.
  • All attendance module weekly attendance record data.
  • All assignments as Bookings module contacts.
  • Children module Group Team contacts - i.e. where Contact 1 or Contact 2 has been added a Team contact to a Gathering/Group's historic session attendance.
  • Children module Gathering/Group membership, child attendance, check-in/out times (This only applies to Children module contact merge).
  • Linked Users - Only Contact 1's link to a ChurchSuite User profile is retained. If a User profile is linked to contact_2, the link is severed but the User profile remains in tact.
  • Profile images - all profile images are merged, allowing you the option to remove one or both images after the merge is completed.
  • Integrations - where Contact 1 or Contact 2 are used in any ChurchSuite Integrations e.g. MailChimp, Planning Centre, Textlocal - the merged contact will need to be re-linked after the merge is complete. Is it not possible to retain integration links for merged contacts.
  • Multi-site - A radio option is available to select which Site the merged contact is retained into (if the Site of Contact 1 and Contact 2 are different).
  • Status - A radio option is available to select which status (Pending or Active) the merged contact is flagged with (if Contact 1 and Contact 2 each have a different status).

Merging duplicate children

If Child 1 and Child 2 both have a linked parent in the Address Book then you have the option to choose which parent you want the merged child toto be linked to.

If Child 1 and Child 2 both have non-member parents (not in the Address Book) then you can be selective on the unlinked parent data you retain against the merged child.

If Child 1 has a link parent in the Address Book and Child 2 doesn’t, then you can either keep the linked parent, or unlink the parent and take all of the non-member parent data (not in the Address Book) from Child 2.

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