name changes. #general

Evelyn Palmer <evkpalm@...>

My mother's maiden name was GWIAZDOWSKI , which was on her passport when
she arrived in Canada in 1920.
When her brother Julius arrived the next year his surname was STERN.
They both have same parents.
When I was young and he was still alive I never thought to ask.
I did ask my mother before she died and her explanation was that when her
ggrandfather came >from Silesia to the Zdunska Wola----Lodz area his name was
Balzer STERN and he changed the name to GWIAZDOWSKI. This would have been
around the 1820's.
What would prompt him to change his name then?
Also is the name STERN a Jewish name or German?
I am stumped with this one and thank everyone for any help at all.

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