LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 119-year-old diploma that was found in the basement of a Chino home was reunited Thursday with relatives of the deceased recipient.

Julia Brown of Chino said she was recently cleaning out the basement of the home where she’s lived for 21 years, when she discovered a document from 1896 on a shelf.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The diploma remained in good condition and read that Clarence McDonald Stevenson received a Doctor of Optics from the Northern Illinois College of Ophthalmology and Otology.

“Somebody held this thing in their hands after a lot of hard work getting a doctorate degree over 100 years ago,” Brown said. “It’s still here.”

Feeling determined to track down Stevenson’s relatives, Brown learned through research that he was born in Missouri in 1877 and died in Los Angeles in 1943.

Brown went on to share she had no clue as to how the diploma appeared in her basement, as Stevenson died several years before her house was built.

Through her research, Brown was able to track down Stevenson’s granddaughter, Sally Traweek, 73, who lives near Sacramento. Stevenson died when Traweek was 2.

Traweek was shocked to learn that her grandfather’s diploma suddenly turned up in a stranger’s basement about 440 miles away.

“It’s awfully nice to have those connections with our family,” Traweek explained.

Daut reported she plans to visit Southern California soon to thank Brown and pick up her grandfather’s diploma.

On returning to Sacramento, Traweek said she plans to frame the document and eventually pass it to her own grandchildren.

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