I don't have a Helen Kowalkowski listed with that birth year and her married surname, Strychanowski, is unfamiliar to me, too.However, my Joseph D. Kowalkowski did have a brother named John forwhom I have no information other than the fact that he died after 1918.John was most likely born in the late 1850's or early 1860's.Helena is a common family name, appearing at least once in each generation (except mine).I know some members of the family ended up in Chicago and Wisconsin, so I'd guess there's a good chance that we are related in some way. You said that you haven't been able to find any information on her. How experienced are you in family research? Have you tried finding her in the 1900 Federal Census?I'd look for a Kowalkowski family in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Ilinois with an daughter named Helen who is about 7 or 8 years old. The census will tell you in which state she was born and will identify her parents and siblings.If she or her parents were foreign born, it will tell you what year they immigrated and where they came from.If they immigrated after 1890, and came through Ellis Island, you will be able to locate records for them at www.Ellisisland.org.
If you are living in the Chicago area, there is a National Archives (I think it's off Pulaski Road, but know it's listed in the Government section of the phone book). They have all the US Federal Census records and the 1900 census has a Soundex (an alphabetical index by state) which will help you locate the family more easily. They also have Naturalization papers for the Mid-west States (Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, etc).IF YOU DON'T live near a National Archives (there are only about 7 of them), let me know and I'll goto the one near me and do a search for you.I usually charge $15 an hour for research, but I'll look up the Kowalkowski line for free : )
You know what year Helen died.Do you know where?If so, you can write to the Country Clerk where she diedand ask them how to get a death certificate for her.That will give you exact birth and death dates and may supply the names of her parents and where they were born.
You might be able to locate her husband's social security records and get information about him that way.Look up the Social Security Death Index on the internet or go to Familysearch.com, hit search, go to their website links, and choose the Social Security Death Index.
If you know what year they married or what city or county they were married in, you should be able to locate their marriage certificate.That would list their parent's names and most likely their birth dates and place of birth.
If you know where they are buried, you can go to the cemetary and ask the caretaker if you can look at the records there (or write for information).Sometimes you can get the person's parent's names, birth date and place and death date and place.
I hope those ideas help.Let me know if you want me to look up the census records.Email me at Kellilou@earthlink.net