2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 28, 2012 6:26 AM by philmodjunk

    Connecting multiple family members into one contact record



      Connecting multiple family members into one contact record


      As I am working on designing this contact db, I have another quandry. I want to be able to create family based records and create a directory from this based on families. However, I need to be able to have individual contact information (email and cell phones), as well as assign tags to individuals based on interests or involvement. 

      So, for example: I have the Smith family (Dad, Mom & three kids), each with separate contact information, but all living in the same household. Lets say that Mom is on the Board of Directors, and child 2 plays softball, and child 3 is in band and the chess club, etc.  Then I have the Smith Sr. family that lives at the same address in the in-law apartment with a separate phone number, thus they should be listed as a separate family.  Anyway, its getting complicated -- any suggestions on making this simple :-)

        • 1. Re: Connecting multiple family members into one contact record

          I think the 'only' problem you have is to decide what you mean by a 'family'.  Once you decide that then displaying the related information will be easy.  I think your problem is that for one scenario you decide that it is best for a Family to be Mom, Pop, and the 3 kids.  Works well.  But then in another scenario you decide that the grandparents should also be identified as 'that family', which works great.  But then messes up your earlier scenario.  Then you want cousins to be part of the family to satisfy another need, but that makes the finding of the simple 'core' family very difficult.

          It think the Filemaker part is relatively (ha!) easy - once you decide the family unit.

          I suspect that rather like a family tree you could have one join table per generation.  So you have every a record in the join table has the ParentID and ChildID.  Obviously one parent can have many children, and children can have many parents.  But then, depending on your definition of 'family' you could choose to add a join record for the Husband/Wife IDs, so looking at either Husband, Wife, or kids records will show all their family members.  If you want cousins and step-siblings you can add join table records for as far out as you want the 'Family circle to go.

          I believe it will technically work fine.  Whether is is humanly manageable of not, though...

          • 2. Re: Connecting multiple family members into one contact record

            I set up a contacts management system for a children's ministry. What I quickly realized was that a given child could easily be a member of more than one family due to divorce, remarriage, etc. Considering relatives not part of the immediate family would be another, similar case. Here's what I set up for this:


            Family::__pkFamilyID = Family_People::_fkFamilyID
            People::__pkPeopleID = Family_People::_fkPeopleID
            People::__pkPeopleID = PhoneEmails::_fkPhoneEmails

            Fields starting with __pk are primary key fields defined to auto-enter serial numbers.

            Fields starting with _fk are foreign key fields defined as number fields.

            Mailing address info was recorded in Families.

            Name, age, gender etc. was recorded in People.

            And the PhoneEmails table allowed me to list as many phone numbers and email/social contact site addresses as I needed for each individual.

            A similar table could be added in your case to list a flexible number of "interests" for that individual.