Jane Clayton, a cultural researcher at UCLan, is bidding to find the descendants of the eight men who drafted the original laws of football.
She is working alongside the Football Association in search of the pioneers as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations.
Jane said so little was known about the men some of their relatives may not even know their significance.
She said: "It is such a shame because in every other aspect of society you know who pioneered it, yet for some reason these men have been lost in history. They were all very senior people within society, such as lawyers, architects and journalists, and within their clubs they were often club captains."
The FA has enlisted the support of players such as Steven Gerrard to launch the hunt for the men’s relatives. If they can prove their connection to any one of the eight, they will be invited to a ceremony at Wembley Stadium in October where a plaque recognising their contribution to the game will be unveiled.
Jane, part of the International Football Institute based at UCLan, said: "We know they were mainly from London and the North East, but their relatives could be anywhere in the world. One of the men, Arthur Pember, we know went to America and became a journalist on the New York Times, so it is very likely his relatives are based over there."