The Top Personal History Blogs of 2011.

This is my third annual listing of the best personal history blogs of the year.

I’ve been tougher in my selection this year. Blogs that were either “missing in action” or were visually unappealing or had weak content didn’t make the cut.

My criteria for selection is based on the qualities I wrote about in What Everybody Ought to Know About a Successful Blog. Briefly these are:

  • Frequent posts.
  • Consistency.
  • Personal.
  • Short and scannable articles.
  • Uncluttered.
  • Use of graphics, photographs, and video.
  • Catchy headlines.
  • Generous and useful content.

This year there are two newcomers to the list: Beth LaMie’s One Story at a Time and  Sarah White’s True Stories Well Told.

Special mention also goes to three blogs that show what good personal history blogging can be. If you’re not on this year’s list, check these out for inspiration.  The owners know their audience, write great content, post  frequently and consistently, and create a visually appealing format.  Kudos to The Heart and Craft of Life WritingWomen’s Memoirs, and True Stories Well Told.

Without further ado, here are the top eight personal history blogs for 2011, ranked in alphabetical order.  Congratulations to everyone.  Drum role, please!

  • The Heart and Craft of Life Writing. Owner Sharon Lippincott describes herself as  “…passionate about all forms of life writing, especially memoir and journaling.”
  • Legacy Multimedia blog. Owner Stefani Twyford says that on her blog “you will read about my passion for personal history, filmmaking techniques, genealogy, and related topics. I will veer off onto other topics from time to time but always come back to the things that make my work and my life a joy.”
  • Memoir Mentor. Owner Dawn Thurston says, “My blog is an attempt to participate in the larger community of people interested in life story writing of all kinds and perhaps help a few people persevere in writing their stories.”
  • The Memoir Writer’s Blog. Owner Denis Ledoux describes his blog as “helping people write family and personal stories…”
  • One Story at a Time.  Owner Beth LaMie says, “I hope you find my stories of interest, especially if you want to write some of your own family stories.”
  • True Stories Well Told.  Owner Sarah White says, “Here’s where I share the thoughts I might bring up for class discussion. Here’s where I post the writings of my fearless, peerless, workshop participants. Here’s where I share stories from my own life, as well as my pet peeves, pointers, and personal observations. I hope to create the atmosphere you find in my classrooms.”
  • Video Biography Central. Owner Jane Lehmann-Shafron describes her blog as a place for “Advice, essays, samples and inspiration for people interested in preserving their personal and family history through video biography, memorial video, life story and genealogy video.”
  • Women’s Memoirs. Owners Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnet have put together a wealth of information that includes writing prompts, book reviews, and more. Women’s Memoirs is not strictly speaking a personal history site but there’s a lot of useful material  here for anyone involved in personal histories.