I've seen all the claims made in the various papers that Barbara Mannlein mentioned, and more, but the specific claims are all factually false, based on fundamental errors in logic, or are the result of methodological problems. Before accepting the meme about "no involuntary name-changes" please wait for my paper to appear, read it, and think about what it says. I think you'll realize that there is no basis for rejecting the name-change narratives, when you realize how they came to be.
Just to get you started, read the references in Barbara's message, and you will note that there are lots of claims that the involuntary name-change meme has been disproved repeatedly. The proofs mentioned in these articles rarely have citations, so you won't be able to find them. I went looking, and all I found was more claims that the proof is in the literature. As it happens, I followed the one citation mentioned, to Vincent Cannato's book, back to its source, and found no proof there at all. I contacted Prof. Cannato, who reported he had not researched this issue. (His book is actually about how the experience of running Ellis Island established the American approach to bureaucracy.) There are lots of assumptions made, but even when these assumptions turn out to be correct, they usually don't prove the point.
Readers may also find interesting that while Marian Smith was willing to discuss her role in propagating the "no involuntary name-changes" meme, she didn't answer direct questions about whether she had actually researched this issue or what proof she had on the matter. And she had seen an early draft of my paper, sent by person or persons unknown, before I communicated with her, so why I was asking these questions was self-evident.
The notion that Inspectors were the agency for the involuntary name-changes is an assumption that has served as a straw-man on this matter. None of the name-change narratives I collected included a claim that the inspector looked at their ancestor, and proclaimed, "I don't like you, do I'm going to call you Snotflubber," or "I like you, so you get to be Goldman." Abandon this notion, and you'll see that the case against the narratives consists of basically nothing. If there really is a case, perhaps someone would be so kind as to make it?
Yale Zussman, PhD