Back in September, 2013, FamilySearch began the process of announcing their joint agreements with several large online genealogy programs. As of the date of this post, agreements have been announced with Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, Findmypast.com and AmericanAncestors.org. For the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the most evident results of these partnerships has been the availability of free access to all four of these websites.
I recently had the opportunity to teach some classes at the Mesa FamilySearch Library Conference in Tempe, Arizona. I had large numbers of participants for the two classes I taught on Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com. For the first time, when I asked how many of the attendees had registered for MyHeritage.com, I had an almost unanimous positive response. A few years ago, when I first started teaching about MyHeritage.com, there would only be one or two people in a large class who raised their hands in response to that same question. The benefit to members of the Church is that they now are becoming familiar with different online sources for information about their families. As a result, the number of source citations being added to the FamilySearch.org Family Tree is increasing dramatically.
All five of the programs, including FamilySearch.org, have opened a new and wider view of family history. The number of records, in the billions, available has and will begin to put the "traditional" family trees compiled by the members on a firmer foundation of actual source documentation. The inevitable results of this ongoing growth in documentation will be a far more accurate and reliable corpus of family information. There will always be entries that are irresponsible and inaccurate, but the overall reliability of the Family Tree is rapidly increasing.
Detractors focus of the issue of editing and unresolved duplicates. There are also a fair measure of uninformed and irresponsible changes being made to the existing data, but as sources are added to the Family Tree, the information will become more stable. It is entirely possible that those putting information into the Family Tree will begin to cooperate with one another rather than criticizing poorly chosen entries and condemning the Family Tree as "unreliable."
I am still spending a significant amount of time helping people get registered properly for each of the programs. I am also finding that once the members have registered they do not know what to do with the programs, but this is slowly changing and there is now a significant corps of people who realize the value of the Partner Programs.
If you have yet to get involved with either the Family Tree or the Partner Programs, I suggest that you review the lessons and helps on The Family History Guide. The content and links from this website will give you a firm basis for utilizing the record content of all of the Partner Programs.