However, the above reasons of name changes is a myth. The ticket clerk in their country, which most likely spoke the same language, entered the information on the form. Then the form would go to the shipping company, and then to Ellis Island clerks. The Ellis Island clerks did not write the names down, so the error couldn't have been their fault. In addition to that, Ellis Island hired many translators, so language problems were very limited.
Oftentimes, name changes were made by the immigrants themselves. Some reasons include, employment, fitting in, and to simplify life. Most immigrants came to the USA to find employment. In those days, anti-discriminatory laws didn't exist and employers wanted to hire people with an Americanized name. Some immigrants might have been advised by earlier immigrants to change their name in order to find quicker employment.
Some might have decided to change their name more than once in order to fit in. They not only changed their name, but changed their way of life. By changing their style of clothing, their speech, and their names it was easier to be accepted. Some even hid their religion and worshiping practices.
Another reason for name changes might be for simplicity. For an immigrant with a foreign name, it was probably very difficult for other Americans to pronounce and spell. Maybe they wanted to simplify things for others and for themselves and decided to change their name.
Keep in mind, back long ago it was very easy to change your name because the USA didn't have rules against it. Many chose to simplify their names by shortening it, taking out combination letters, taking out foreign letters and replacing them with English letters, taking out excess syllables, or they might decide on a completely different name.
Even though many changed their names, sometimes they still used their given name. For example, at family functions, weddings, etc... Sometimes they forgot or was confused about which name to use when their signature was needed. Because of this, when a researcher is aware of a name change, it is important to search for all names of that individual.
Everyone was allowed to use the name they preferred, which caused some families to have different last names. This caused some to change their last name again so it would correspond with other family members. Later on in life, many tried to get their original name back.
In conclusion, if your family name changed, the person responsible was probably your ancestor and he had many reasons to do so.
Please watch the helpful YouTube video below titled, "How to Handle Name Changes in Your Family Tree" by The Barefoot Genealogist, Crista Cowan, of Ancestry.com.