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Delete duplicate addresses????

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I have an address list with many duplicates (eg., John&Susan&Bob...at the same address) and I need to create a mail list to housholds-one mail to each unique address.

Please help.


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And who should be the lucky recipient? John, Sue, or Bob?

It's easy enough to filter out or omit duplicates (just search for past threads on this topic). But there are a couple issues that you need to think through first. Doing so, you may get why and how the duplicates can be avoided in the first place.

First, you have to decide what's the basis for a "duplicate". We generally think of a household as the people-living-together. But if your data is based on a mailing list that people sign up for, it may include past addresses for the same people. So do old addresses get the mailing too? What about variations of the same address, like one member putting "3423 Johnson St NE", another putting "3423 Johnson Street NE", and another putting "3423 Johnson St NE Unit 2"? Having the database understand that these are the same may be a problem. What about people living at the same address but with different last names?

Then you have to decide which record you would show in the case of a duplicate address but with different names. Does the mailing go to John, Sue, Bob, or is it addressed to all three?

In my experience, it's better to avoid these issues by having a Household (or Family) table, that relates to the Person records. The Address would then be an attribute of the Household. To have the "head of household" show on your mailings, you would identify the Head of Household explicitly by identifying him or her in the Household record. With this structure, the mailings could be made out of a layout based on the Household table, so there would only ever be one per household. In the rare case of two distinct families living together at one address, they would be separate Household records and would each get a mailing.

In this case, having fairly strict data-entry would be necessary. The system/user would need to check for a person's household record before adding a new one. This may or may not work for you, depending on where the data comes from.

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