Alternative surname spellings #general

Peter Blood <nowy@...>

I confused about alternative spellings of surnames on the Jewish side of
my family. For instance, I was always told that my Russian (Lithuania
and Latvia) g-grandparents were Rebecca REIMER and Max DAMESEK. Now I
have searched several times through Ellis Island passenger lists at the
National Archives but have never found them. Recently, a letter from
someone in the family referred to them by the names I have known, as
well as by Surah RIFKA and Itzik MENDEL. That's quite a difference - not
just a minor change in vowels. Now I understand that there are many of
these radical alternative spellings of surnames on my Jewish side. I
wonder if Max called himself Itzik MENDEL upon arrival in Ellis Island.

Could someone lease explain the reason for the difference in spellings?
Peter Blood

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