HSQLDB is a good candidate (the fact that it is used in OpenOffice may convinced some of you), but for such a small personnal application, why not using an object database (instead of a classic relationnal database) ?
I used DB4O in one of my projects, and I'm very satisfied with it. Being object-oriented, you don't need the whole Hibernate layer, and can directly insert/update/delete/query objects ! Moreover, you don't need to worry about the schema, you directly work with the objects and DB4O does the rest !
I agree that it may take some time to get used to this new type of database, but check the DB40 tutorial to see how easy it makes working with the DB !
EDIT: As said in the comments, DB4O handles automatically the newer versions of the classes. Moreover, a tool for browsing and updating the database outside of the application is available here : http://code.google.com/p/db4o-om/