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I am geocoding historic addresses in Ireland using Google Maps (free access) but in some cases Google Maps returns an address with a different street name. For example, when I enter the address of the Forthriver Primary School that was recorded on Ballygomartin Road, Northern Belfast in 1990 it is geocoded to a school ('point_of_interest', 'school') on Cairnmartin Road.

Is Google Maps utilizing knowledge of historic street names but providing the updated street name? How do I know it is locating the correct address, especially in cases where there is no point of interest to identify (just an old street name)?

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    Interesting question, but I don't think you will get an accurate answer. You would need to know someone inside Google. But I would guess they keep histories of street name from when they were capturing data, so name changes after 2005 would be incorporated. – HeikkiVesanto May 30 '18 at 14:14
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Is Google Maps utilizing knowledge of historic street names but providing the updated street name?

As you guessed, Google does update their Geocoding data time by time from various sources. One of them I know, would be their partners. On top of updating addresses, they would also, for example, update street view.

How do I know it is locating the correct address, especially in cases where there is no point of interest to identify (just an old street name)?

You can perform the lookup of "old street name -> location on a map" on other Geocoding service, and compare the results side by side. Same approach should works on reverse Geocoding too.

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