It seems odd that you are trying to "find" data in a portal at all. Performing a find, finds records in the layout's table, not the portal's. If you do a find where criteria is specified in fields from a related table--such as the fields showing in a portal, you find all records in the layout's table that have at least one related record meeting that specified criteria, but then returning to browse mode once the find has been performed causes the relationship and portal filter (if any) to control what records appear in the portal.
It IS possible to perform a find and use a portal to display the results, but it's not a built in feature of FileMaker and requires careful scripting and relationship design to pull off--details that I see no mention of in your post.
What data appear in a portal are controlled by the following:
The match fields and relationship operator specified in Manage | Database | Relationships
The values in the match fields of the two tables linked in this relationship (and possibly in records of tables that help form that link if the two tables are not directly linked in the relationship.)
Whether a a portal filter expression (if any) defined in Portal Setup... evaluates as true for a given related record.
So if data is not showing in a portal as expected, you first check the relationship, then the portal filter and then the values in your match fields.
To clarify the find is in the field/s from the layout's table. Relationships are in place between the layouts table and the archive tables and no filter is defined on the portal. Values have be placed in the layouts table that match the archive table related values. On returning to the browse mode no results appear in the portal. Is there anything about populating these tables by reference to tables in an other database that would make them somehow different in regard to such a search?
The Fact that the tables come from another file should not be an issue here. To link to that table in a relationship for that portal requires adding a table occurrence with a remote data source reference to the table in the other file and then you should be able to reference that table just as though it is in the current file. FileMaker will automatically open the other file if it is not open, displaying an error message if it can't find it to open and asking for an account name and password if the file is protected with account names and passwords that do not match that used to open the current file.
So I would suspect that something is not set up correctly, either with the relationship that you have defined or in the values of the match fields specified for that relationship.Could it be that your external data source reference is referring to a different copy of the file than you expected here? And thus does not have the records to appear in the portal that you thought would appear?
Thanks PhiModJunk, my thinking also. I can create a default layout for the local tables that refer to the external database and all of the data appears just fine... I know that does not help much. Must be something very very obvious at this point. More sleeps I guess : )
You can look at the data in the two match fields, Copy the value of the parent record's match field to the clipboard, go to your default layout for the portal, enter find mode, type in == then paste the copied data and perform a find to see if any records are found. If none, found, your match field data doesn't match. If they do, better look at both the layout design and relationship setup.