All evidence shows names were not changed at Ellis Island. My great- grandparents named KRAUZE from Bialystok were told by their fellow Landsman at The Bialystoker Synagogue on the Lower East Side of NY that in America people would think you were “crazy person” with a name pronounced Krauze. What’s a good, Yankee, American name they asked? GOLDSTEIN they were told. So GOLDSTEIN it was from then on. Why were Eastern European Jews more likely, perhaps more than other immigrant groups, willing to accept changed surnames? In the Russian experience, remember, surnames were ordered by the Czar in The Edicts of 1804 & 1835 and the loyal attachment to these surnames is questionable. After all, didn’t you also hear stories of how your ancestors tried to avoid the Russian military by changing their identities. Names being misspelled at the port of departure, suggestions from Landsman in America, American teachers, etc. seem more credible than “my name was changed at Ellis Island”.
KRAUZE, WASILKOVSKY, JANOWSKY, SUSSEL, SCHAPIRO, FIXEL- Bialystok & Wasilkow, Poland
SCHLACHTER, YAFFE, SKODOWITZ, BARON - Kavarskas, Lithuania
SIMONSOHN/SIMSON - Riga, Latvia
MOSHKOVSKY, MONTE, KUZINETZ - Slonim, Belarus
DROBIS - Anyksciai, Lithuania