FamilySearch. Of course they bring a lot to the genealogy community. First and foremost, FamilySearch brings in a huge influx of money into genealogy. Because profitability isn't the end goal for them, FamilySearch can take risks. Which, when you think about it, is pretty exciting. Rootstech, among other conferences, is a great example of the good that comes from having deep pockets and no need to make a profit. I think we can all agree that we're pretty grateful for programs like that, not to mention all of the Family History Libraries that anyone can access. A steady income, with only a minor focus on margins, makes a big difference for the rest of us.
As a quick side note to that, I feel like I should mention why it doesn't particularly bother me that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints get free access to companies like MyHeritage.com, Ancestry.com, and FindMyPast.com as a result of FamilySearch's partnerships with these companies. I know it doesn't seem fair to everyone else in the genealogical community. However, you may not realize that LDS church members already give 10% of their income to their church, which helps fund FamilySearch, among other things. So, they already have a financial stake (in addition to their own volunteer time) in FamilySearch's partnerships. As a result, I can see why they are able to benefit from that for their own personal family history research and work. That makes me wonder, though, if anyone would be willing to donate 10% of their income to Family ChartMasters in exchange for some partnership benefits? We wouldn't mind experimenting with some deeper pockets of our own. ;)
All kidding aside and back to my gratitude for FamilySearch... I truly appreciate the volunteerism and work ethic coming from its users. It's quite simply a given for FamilySearch contributors that family history work is important and something that we all need to do. The volunteer effort put in by people who index and work on records collection and preservation is pretty astounding. These folks do it because they know it's important and they don't expect anything in return. That's the real spirit of family history work right there: helping others find the missing links in their own histories because it's the right thing to do. I have some real love for that.
In the end, FamilySearch (along with the MyHeritage and Ancestry) brings a lot to the table for all of us. Sometimes as a small business owner it can feel a bit daunting to work alongside these giants; but there are so many things to be thankful for. I have learned lots in my business and personal dealings with these companies, I love working alongside the good people who work for them and I truly am thankful for the roles they play in my company's success. I am thankful everyday that I get to work in this industry and love the work I do so much. I hope you'll be able to look around and find some things you are thankful for too. There is lots to be grateful for when you look for it.