A Carman family says they went on the hunt after finding a suitcase abandoned in a ditch containing decades-old letters and a passport from across the ocean.

Carin Beukema was driving her sons to school two days ago near Carman when they found a suitcase in the ditch.

"On Monday I was driving to school and I see some garbage in the ditch. Something about it caught my eye so I turned around and went back. Lo and behold I found an old suitcase," says Beukema.

Her two boys, Lynden and Trayce, wanted to help investigate. 

"We all had our own conclusion as to why it was in the ditch. My youngest son said it must have been a criminal."

There were two locks on the suitcase that had both been cut. Looking through the contents of the suitcase, Beukema found something very interesting. 

"I came across a passport and this gentleman was born in Scotland in 1916. That name was the only one that came through in all the letters."

The suitcase also contained very old letters sent back and forth between family members with dates ranging between 1949 to 1979.

Contents from the suitcase Carin Beukema found in the ditch near her house. Contents from the suitcase Carin Beukema found in the ditch near her house. (Supplied)

The last name was Lauder, so Beukema started to look for anyone with that name. After searching the Carman phone book, she didn't find a match, which is when she started searching Facebook. 

"I searched Winnipeg and sure enough I found a couple of different people with that last name. So I started messaging them. I got a message back from a lady who said it wasn't her family but she would get a hold of people she knew with the same last name."

A friend of this woman's with her same last name and no relation had moved to Toronto from Winnipeg two years ago. His name is Rod Lauder.

"He sent a message back that said if the date is correct, that would be my father," says Beukema. 

Once the two talked on the phone and confirmed all the information, it turned out that it was Rod's father's passport and letters. 

The owner of the passport, Lauder's father, passed away back in 2005 in Kelowna, B.C. 

How it ended up in the ditch? "That's the million-dollar question," says Beukema. 

Beukema is sending the contents in the mail back to Lauder in Toronto, and he told her this has made his year.