Are you importing your images from your camera with Adobe Photoshop Downloader (APD)?
I am using the Elements Organizer - Photo Downloader.
When I took a closer look, I noticed that each days photos are downloaded from oldest to newest.
However, the days go backward, that is from newest to oldest.
For now, my work around is using the Windows downloader which works how I expect, renaming and numbering starting from the first photo.
You must have some option set to rename your files. Mine come right from my camera with the file name that is created by the camera, which is in sequental order. When I display the pictures in PSE I generally have "newest" checked but there is an option for "oldest".
Yes, I use the custom name function to rename the files as they are downloaded.
I have also noticed in the PSE Organizer the option to sort photos by Newest or Oldest and that is why I am surprised that the downloader does not offer that option.
I just played with some files using the std dialog and the advanced dialog,both with a rename. My renames are coming in oldest to newest. I would guess you have something wrong in preferences that brings them in backwards. You might want to consider resetting preferences back to default, try the import. Via trial and error as you reset preferences to your "normal" settings hopefully you will find which one triggered the problem.
Let me know how it goes.
After resetting the preferences to default (in the Organizer), the files are downloaded Oldest to Newest within each day (as before).
However, it starts from the newest day and works backwards.
Were the files you were downloading shot over two different days?
My went over 2 days and was fine. Your problem now is probably your "sort by" order is "newest" instead of "oldest". Keep us updated.