I’d like to point you to an article published on The New York Public Library blog dated July 2, 2013, and written by Philip Sutton, of the Milstein Division of United States History titled Why Your Family Name Was Not Changed at Ellis Island (and One That Was).
The article points to the always persistent stories about names being changed at Ellis Island. It turns out that this is untrue. It is a myth that persists in the genealogy and in family lore, that family names were changed at Ellis Island during the years between 1892 and 1954. Blogs, essays and books have proven this yet the myth continued in a recent issue of The New Yorker. There was only one instance where a name was changed, but you’ll have to read the fascinating article to find out how it happened.
Names were changed, but not at Ellis Island. Inspectors never wrote down the names of incoming immigrants, the list of names came from the manifests of steamship arrivals.
Click on Why Your Family Name Was Not Changed at Ellis Island (and One That Was) to read the article.