I did an initial import of Contact data using Data Loader. One of the fields on the Contact is a lookup to an Account object (custom record type called School). I loaded my csv with corresponding Account Id for the contacts school. After I completed the import and i look at the contact record in Salesforce, it is showing the actual text of the Id in the lookup field instead of the school name. I'm baffled why it would do this.
Just to close the circle on this, I'm going to admit I made a goof and set the field as Text(100) instead of Lookup, fully convinced it was a Lookup. Anyhow, I created a new Lookup field and it imported just fine. Problem solved.