About Deena Coutant


Posts by Deena Coutant:

First Annual Save Your Photos Day Event

It’s only 2 days until the first annual Save Your Photos Day events take place worldwide on Saturday, September 27!

Last year, as a founding member of the local Memory Preservation Coalition, I helped to spearhead the volunteer recovery efforts to assist Colorado flood victims in recovering their water-logged and muddy photos, albums and videos. In all, over 80 volunteers helped to restore 20,000+ photos, videos and treasured memorabilia at 4 difference “rescue centers.”

In the last year, Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) had a vision to establish a worldwide annual event dedicated to preserving photos and other family memorabilia. The Memory Preservation Coalition members shared our expertise, along with other similar groups that had responded to disasters such as the Joplin, Missouri tornadoes, and the Save Your Photos Alliance became a reality.

There are over 60 events happening in the United States, with 2 being hosted in Colorado in Lone Tree and Boulder. I’m proud to serve as one of the organizers of the local Colorado events, and will be presenting several educational topics at the Lone Tree location (Memories to Digital, 8481 S. Yosemite in the Home Depot shopping center).  Click the map to find other locations.

SYPD Event Map

At the Colorado locations, there will be a series of 7 short educational presentations that repeat in the morning and afternoon.  While the presentations are ongoing, there will also be free photos scanning of up to 25 loose prints sized 8.5 x 11 or smaller (fragile or special handling items may be scanned in lesser quantity if others are waiting).

SYPD poster no logo


Why participate in a free Save Your Photos Day event? Watch this short video clip to find out.


The original press release was posted here.  Help spread the word…and hope to see you at the event!

SaveYourPhotosDay Logo

Gone to Texas

FGS2014 Gone to Texas

Today marks the beginning of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in San Antonio.  I am excited to be back in my home state and to visit San Antonio, where I lived during 2005-2010.

This morning kicks off with a business plan strategy workshop for genealogical societies, sponsored by FamilySearch.org.  This is an important topic because genealogical societies are volunteer organizations that are the heart of much activity in the genealogy industry.  In fact, when I bid farewell to Texas and drove north to Colorado in 2010, the first people I met in my new home town were genealogists from various societies in the Denver-metro area.  Some of the genealogists that I met at these societies are among my closest friends today.

I am looking forward to connecting with many of my genealogy friends from across the nation at the conference this week.  There is such an energy when family historians who are passionate about their research get together to share with each other.

I am also excited about perusing the expo hall for new vendors, tools and technologies.  Being able to network with leaders from Ancestry.com and FindMyPast at breakfasts and focus groups is also a rewarding experience.  The spirit of collaboration and mutual sharing runs strong at these events and leaves me reinvigorated.

Last, I hope to have some free time to visit some of the historical sites around the Riverwalk, which I never seemed to have enough time to do when I lived here.

Thanks FGS for planning such a great conference!


Save Your Photos Day Press Release

Save Your Photos Day Press Release

SaveYourPhotosDay Logo

Learn How to Protect Photos Before a Disaster Strikes
One Year after the 2013 Flood, Colorado Save Your Photo Alliance Members Host
Save Your Photos Day – Saturday, September 27th


For immediate release                                                                                                            August 19, 2014

Now that it is summer and the sun is shining, most people are not thinking about planning for the next disaster in Colorado. However, almost a year after the 1,000-Year Flood, it is a great time to consider how you can protect one of your most treasured assets: your photos, photo albums and other memorabilia.

SaveYourPhotosAlliance LogoIn honor of the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Colorado flood, the same organizations that came together to rescue more than 20,000 flood-damaged photos and over 240 videos & films, are now co-sponsoring Save Your Photos Day. We’re planning to help hundreds of thousands of people save their photos in one day! This international event is organized by the Save Your Photo Alliance, and will promote Save Your Photos Day events happening all over the world.  Events will include presentations and hands-on workshops on collecting, organizing, and safeguarding photos, documents, videos, and other memorabilia for current enjoyment, as well as for generations that follow. Presentations will also provide information on how to prepare for, and hopefully prevent, an unexpected loss from large and small accidents, fire, wind, and water.

Colorado members of the Save Your Photos Alliance will be hosting two events on Saturday, September 27th, one in Boulder and one in Lone Tree. The events will include free, educational workshops in morning and afternoon sessions shown below. FREE photo scanning (up to 25 loose prints per participant) is being offered on-site, 10:00 to 4:00 at both locations.

Each of the host organizations – Couragent, maker of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, Memories to Digital, DigiDeena Consulting and Picture This Organized – has extensive experience working with photos. Additionally, Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Couragent, Memories to Digital owner Gwen Scherer, and Deena Coutant of DigiDeena Consulting have experience with rescuing photos and other media in a disaster situation. The three business leaders worked together to organize a 6 location, 80+ volunteer photo rescue effort during the 2013 Colorado flood. Nuttall was also instrumental in helping rescue photos damaged in Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“The most important thing is to get the word out so people can take action to prepare their memories today before a disaster strikes,” says Gwen Scherer. “Many of these priceless items can be preserved with a little work in advance, and we’re here to help.” Deena Coutant adds, “The planning and organizing that goes into these preservation activities actually allows people to enjoy their photos and other memorabilia in the process of preparing the preservation plan—it’s a win-win.”

The two host locations of the Denver-area Save Your Photos Day events are:

  • Memories to Digital – Boulder: 2525 Arapahoe Ave in the Village Shopping Center near McGuckin Hardware
  • Memories to Digital – Lone Tree: 8481 S. Yosemite in the Home Depot shopping center


Both locations will offer the same, free presentations and workshops, with both morning and afternoon sessions:

  • 10:30a and 1:30p      Why Save Your Photos? (Save Your Photos Day intro)
  • 10:45a and 1:45p       Organizing Photos for Digitization
  • 11:00a and 2:00p      Storing & Preserving Photos
  • 11:15a and 2:15p        Scanning Options and Best Practices
  • 11:30a and 2:30p       Backing-Up and Cloud Storage Options
  • 11:45a and 2:45p       Emergency Readiness
  • 12:00p and 3:00p     Organizing Digital Images


FREE Scanning Offer:

FREE scanning of up to 25 loose prints per participant will be offered on-site at both locations on a first-come, first-served basis.


About the Save Your Photos Alliance

The Save Your Photos Alliance’s goal is to prevent the unforeseen loss of valued family photo treasures by educating people on what to do BEFORE a disaster strikes.  The Save Your Photos Alliance is committed to being the world’s premier organization for the SAFEGUARDING, RECOVERING, RESTORING, and REUNITING of photos and treasured memorabilia before and after disasters occur. It strives to accomplish this through a unique blending of individual professional service providers, associations, government and not-for-profit organizations whose common pursuit is to educate, reach out and serve. http://www.saveyourphotos.org/

About Couragent and the Flip-Pal mobile scanner

Couragent is a Colorado corporation based in Fort Collins, and maker of The Flip-Pal mobile scanner.  The Flip-Pal mobile scanner is the world’s original color flatbed scanner for photos, cherished memorabilia, and documents that does not require a computer to operate. The patented flip-and-scan technology allows scanning photos in place without removing them from an album or frame. The included EasyStitch software quickly and automatically reassembles multiple scans into their larger original.  For more information, visit www.flip-pal.com/save-your-photos-day.

About Memories to Digital

Memories to Digital is a local, Colorado company dedicated to helping people enjoy, share and preserve their photo, video, film and audio memories in a digital format. Started in 2003, Memories to Digital has stores in Boulder and Lone Tree with a full-range of services to digitize photo, film, video & audio media or create custom-edited productions from the digital memories. Visit www.mtdigital.com or find Memories to Digital on Facebook.

About DigiDeena Consulting

Deena Coutant is a professional genealogist who uses modern technology to facilitate successful search, storage and sharing strategies for family historians in the digital age.  Her company, DigiDeena Consulting, educates the community through group training sessions and individual coaching, conducts client research and review, and also offers services related to photo organization and digitization.  www.digideena.com

About Picture This Organized

Picture This Organized is a Denver Metro based business uniquely qualified to help families manage their photo collections.  Photos, memorabilia and home media are viewed as a cherished glimpse into each family’s history.  Picture This Organized offers premium services for organizing & digitizing print and digital media, backup and photo sharing solutions, and custom designed photo books and slideshows.  Owner and founder, Julie Kessler, is a certified member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and a board member of the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. For more information, visit www.picturethisorganized.com or look for us on Facebook.


The Save Your Photos Alliance Member contacts for these events are:

Gwen Scherer
Memories to Digital

Deena Coutant
DigiDeena Consulting

Gordon Nuttall
Couragent, Inc.

Julie Kessler
Picture This Organized

Visiting Spectacular Spokane for Spontaneous Genealogy Fun

Visiting Spectacular Spokane for Spontaneous Genealogy Fun

Last week Chris and I took a short vacation to the Washington state wine country. We flew into Spokane because we could get a direct flight on Southwest, our favorite airline. Because the vacation was spontaneous, we figured that driving around the state would be half the fun. But I was really glad to be able to briefly see Spokane since my mother lived there as a child in 1960.

Upon arriving in Spokane, we made a bee-line to Duncan Garden in Manito Park. I had a handful of photos from 1960 that were taken at the park when my mother was a little girl and her grandmother Bessie (Christensen) Anderson made a trip to visit her sister-in-law, Muriel Christensen, who also lived in Spokane. Chris and I found the exact spot where some of the photos were taken and attempted to recreate them, some 44 years later.




Next stop was to Dartmouth Road to the house where my mother’s family lived.  Prior to my arrival in Spokane, my mother had to do some detective work to determine the address, because it had not been recorded on the back of any photos, and she was too young to remember the house number.  After comparing details like where the electrical power lines connected to the structure, the house was pinpointed using Google street view, but the photo was too fuzzy to discern the actual house number.

Upon arrival into the neighborhood, we stopped to speak to a neighbor who was outside working in his yard next door.  As it turns out, he had grown up in the neighborhood from the early 1960s, so may have even played in the streets with my mother and other neighborhood children.  He conveyed that the current homeowner had moved into the home in the early 1960s and been there ever since.

We knocked on the door and spoke to the homeowner, who was a sweet lady in her 90s.  I brought a half dozen photos of different angles of the house and gave them to her.  She invited me in and allowed me to take some photos from the back and side yards.  At the time my mother lived in the house, it was a new construction with almost no trees or vegetation; in stark comparison, the entire backyard was now surrounded by mature trees and ripe raspberry bushes, and the tiny pine tree in the front yard was now probably 60 feet tall!



The covered patio in the behind the garage and chain link fence were still there, too.  Although I never had even set foot in Spokane before this trip, I felt very at home with the kind residents in my mom’s old neighborhood.


The last stop in Spokane was to Riverside Memorial Park, where my great-uncle and second wife, Engolph O. and Muriel L. Christensen, are buried.  Because the cemetery of over 7,300 interments is currently only 51% indexed on Find A Grave, I didn’t know the exact burial location because Engolph’s memorial had not yet been added.  A quick stop at the cemetery office provided me the exact coordinates of the plot and a detailed map—without which we would have never located the tombstones.  As it turns out, Engolph had a military headstone from WWI and was buried in the American Legion section of the cemetery.  I have since added Engolph & Muriel’s memorials to Find A Grave so others can locate their graves, too.


IMG_0340 IMG_0349

The icing on the cake came about 45 minutes after departing Spokane for the wine country.  The day before the vacation started, I had stumbled across an Ancestry.com family tree that contained Engolph & Muriel Christensen.  Based on who was marked as private (living) in the tree, I thought I might have found a granddaughter of Engolph who was born in Spokane and possibly still lived there.  I quickly sent an email to the tree owner explaining my connection to the family and the fact I’d be in Spokane the next day.

Although I didn’t get a response right away, I did receive a very lengthy response once on the road which explained the family connections, who was still living, who might have family photos, and more.  I read the news as we drove through Moses Lake, Washington, which, as it turns out is where one of my shirt-tail cousins now lives.  So not only did I make several new family connections, but we plan to share genealogy information and photos in the future.

Less than three hours into our trip, and I had already checked off four genealogy items from the list–WOW.  With such a great start to the trip, I knew the rest of the week was going to be great fun!

Have you ever successfully mixed in a little genealogy while on a non-genealogy vacation?  If so, please leave a reply about your experiences.

Halfway Point 2014

Halfway Point 2014

I can’t believe that as the sun set tonight, the first half of 2014 has already slipped into the history books.

What were the highlights of the last 6 months for DigiDeena?

Redesigned my DigiDeena website to give better visibility to the genealogy events I teach

Joined APPO, the Association of Personal Photo Organizers

Hired a superb business coach, Carol Naff of Mariner Company Coaching

Became a Constant Contact Solution Provider and began the certification program

Saw the episode of Dark Minds, for which I performed research, aire on Investigation Discovery

Submitted 11 speaking proposals for national conferences next year

Settled on a decision to eventually transition my catalog of 300,000 digital images to Adobe Lightroom

Implemented Franklin Covey’s PlanPlus Online Pro Edition for time and project management

Purchased a timeshare at the Kimball Condominiums in SLC so I can do more research at the Family History Library

Taught 18 genealogy classes to a variety of audiences

Completed courses in Autosomal DNA, Genetic Genealogy and Copyright

Began a monthly NGSQ  journal article study group

Attended the awesome RootsTech 2014 conference in Salt Lake City

Accepted the role of publicity chair for the FGS 2015 Alaskan Cruise

Served as a judge at National History Day in Colorado for high school students

Invested significant time to take my WordPress plugins knowledge to the next level

Took a 10-day road trip to Texas to help my aunt and uncle move into assisted living

Visited Clayton Library in Houston for the first time and researched all day

Completed a 16-week study group on Mastering Genealogical Proof

Celebrated the 7th anniversary with my husband Chris

Flew my Mom out to visit for a week and work on genealogy

Installed a receiver hitch and bike rack enabling travel to riding trails near and far

Survived my step-daughter turning 13


What will the next half of the year bring?

Guess I better set some new goals!